A large sheen of oil in shallow-water Gulf of Mexico is being attributed to a well-capping accident about 20 miles southwest of Southwest Pass, according to The Times-Picayune. The Coast Guard and state officials reported the sheen days ago. In the mean time, The Times Picayune reports that environmentalists reported what appeared to be surface oil over several miles on the other side of the Mississippi River's delta in Chandeleur Sound on March 22. W&T Offshore, Inc., Houston, had reported on March 22 it had responded to reports of an oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico that was said to be near a W&T operated platform in Mississippi Canyon block 243 ("Matterhorn"). After the company conducted an onsite and aerial investigation, it was determined that the source of a reported oil sheen was not the Matterhorn platform or any other nearby W&T operated facilities, as speculated in several media reports. A state official, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Times Picayune because of a continuing Coast Guard investigation, said the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries traced the emulsified oil on the west side of the river to its apparent source at West Delta Block 117. He reported that tests by a state-contracted lab confirmed the sheen was in fact oil. Anglo-Suisse, based in Houston, issued a statement late March 22 taking responsibility for the clean up, even though they reported it was surprised because the well is "non-producing and has been monitored closely for the last six months." However, it acknowledge that the Coast Guard believed they may be responsible for the spill. The well in question is located in shallow-water Gulf of Mexico , about 210 feet deep. According to the article, Coast Guared records show that hree discharges of oil from Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners' Platform E facility were reported. The first on March 18 with a report of a "downed platform" and half a gallon of spilled crude during operations to plug and abandon the well. The second on March 20 with a similar incident, spilling 1.33 gallons of oil. The third report came in on March 21 with another 1.89 gallons reported spilled. Anglo-Suisse reported the wellhead structure had been reconnected and fully shut in by 8:30 p.m. These oil spills could not have come at a worst time. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), have recently approved the first four deepwater drilling projects since the BP oil disaster nearly a year ago. More importantly, the approvals come on the assurance that these companies can now quickly cap their wells in case of a blowout. To read about the four permit approvals, click the articles below: First Permit Approval In Gulf Of Mexico Not A Victory BOEMRE Issues Second Gulf Of Mexico Permit Approval BOEMRE Approves Third Deepwater Drilling Permit To Meet New Safety Standards BOEMRE Approves ExxonMobil's Deepwater Drilling Permit Other related articles: Petrobras Receives Approval For First Production From Its Inaugural FPSO In The Gulf Of Mexico A Gulf Of Mexico Milestone? First New Deepwater Plan Approved Since Oil Spill
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