The Port Arthur News
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Railroad Commission and Allied Operating Texas, LLC have established a Unified Command to ensure a coordinated response to an oil leak from an offshore oil well pipeline near Sea Rim State Park.
The group will systematically plan and direct the oil spill response and clean-up efforts. The Coast Guard has established a 500-yard safety zone to encompass the affected area and is issuing a broadcast notice to mariners in order to protect responders on scene and transiting mariners in the area.
Acting on reports from local mariners, U.S. Coast Guard and TGLO personnel located and verified the source of a 5-mile long rainbow colored sheen. The oil well was immediately secured and shut-in to stop all discharge operations. The sources of the leak were pin-pointed by divers as a deteriorated repair clamp and two small holes on the 3-inch diameter pipe leading from the well to an onshore storage tank 1.5 miles away. Approximately 81 gallons of light crude oil has escaped the leaking pipeline.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Captain Joe Paitl, Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the operation, “We’re all fully committed to containing the pollution and minimizing impact to the environment. Our crews are working smartly and safely to resolve this situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The Unified Command estimated 2,800 gallons of oil remains in the length of the pipe from the offshore well to the onshore storage tank.
Joe Pierce of Allied Operating Texas stated, “The next step of our plan is to flush out the line with saltwater and collect the oily water mixture shore-side in tanker trucks. Once emptied, crews will pressurize the line to identify any additional leaks for repair.” Response efforts are expected to continue for several days depending on weather and offshore conditions.