Apache probes sheen near platform

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Jan. 18 -- A hydrocarbon sheen was reported Jan. 16 during plugging and abandonment operations on East Cameron Block 278 Platform B in 168 ft of water 95 miles south of Cameron, La., Apache Corp. said.

Cause and source of the release are under investigation. Remotely operated vehicles and spill response vessels were dispatched to the platform.

Apache expects information from the ROV will help determine the source.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement said the platform, which has not been in production for nearly a decade, was used to process natural gas and condensate from other facilities.

Apache was permanently plugging its associated nonproducing gas wells when workers spotted what appeared to be gas bubbling to the surface near the platform.

BOEMRE inspectors on Jan. 17 found continued bubbling and discolored water near the platform, possibly a mixture of sediment from the ocean floor, gas, and formation water, the agency said.

“Oil is not believed to be present other than in small amounts of condensate, which quickly evaporates,” a BOEMRE release said.

Workers evacuated the platform. The associated pipelines and facilities were shut in.

It was not immediately clear to OGJ whether the platform was being deactivated or whether Apache was permanently sealing some wells.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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