Unknown Amount of Oil Spilled After Boat Crash

An unknown amount of oil has been discharged into a lake connected to the Gulf of Mexico after a boat allided with an inactive wellhead, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Wednesday.

The 42-foot crewboat ran into the wellhead about nine miles southwest of Port Sulphur, La., Tuesday evening, and the platform is discharging an "oily water mixture," the Coast Guard said.

The wellhead is owned by Swift Energy Company (SFY), and is no longer producing.

Swift said in a statement that the well was shut-in in January 2008 and hasn't produced since that time. In the last production test before that, the well's output was about 18 barrels of oil, three barrels of water, and 59 MCF of natural gas per day. Now, the well is releasing "primarily water and a small amount of oil," the company said.

The company said a containment boom and skimmers have been deployed around the well to keep the oil from reaching the shore and nearby marsh lands. A flyover was conducted to assess damage Wednesday morning, and the company said it is working with state, federal and local authorities to develop a "definitive plan" to bring the well under control.

Coast Guard teams are in Port Sulphur to secure the well and clean up any leaking oil.


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