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UPDATE: BSEE, Coast Guard Continuing to Respond to Loss of Well Control in the Gulf of Mexico

07/10/2013

NEW ORLEANS- The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is continuing to oversee Energy Resource Technology, LLC’s (ERT) source control efforts to stop the flow of gas and kill the well at Ship Shoal Block 225 Platform B, located approximately 74 miles offshore Louisiana, southwest of Port Fourchon, in about 146 feet of water. BSEE and Coast Guard remain on scene at a nearby platform.

Following a site safety assessment, BSEE approved the movement of pumping equipment onto Platform E, adjacent to Platform B and connected by a bridge. BSEE engineers completed final reviews and approved the source control procedures which involve pumping drilling mud into the well to stop the flow of natural gas. The wellhead and associated equipment are located approximately 70 feet above the surface of the water, where all platform work is conducted.

Coast Guard continues to provide safety management oversight as part of its active involvement in ERT operational planning. Coast Guard conducted an overflight yesterday and is ensuring that all precautions are taken to access risk and make certain that safety measures are in place to protect personnel.

As reported by ERT, there is currently a light sheen on the water, which appears to be evaporating. The well is flowing mostly water at very low pressure and ERT believes that approximately 3.6 barrels of light condensate is being discharged every 24 hours based upon the size of the sheen as reported by the BSEE and the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to ERT, the Ship Shoal 225 B-2 well is an older gas condensate well in a field developed in the 1970's that last produced mostly water in 1997 at a rate of 65 thousand cubic feet of gas per day, 9 barrels of condensate per day and 1,150 barrels of water per day at a low flowing pressure of 175 psi.

While conducting a temporary plugging operation, ERT first experienced a loss of well control on July 7, 2013. BSEE was notified of the incident and that the well had been secured. A BSEE Houma District engineer received the report of a second loss of well control event on July 8, at approximately 9:45 a.m. BSEE inspectors were on-board the platform and confirmed that the well was flowing natural gas, water, and condensate. The platform was safely evacuated and two producing wells were shut-in.

BSEE and Coast Guard continue to work closely with federal and local agencies. BSEE will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the well control event.

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