WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday said it was probing nearly 350 reports of oil spills in and along the U.S. Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Hurricane Ida's 150 mile per hour (240 kph) winds wreaked havoc on offshore oil production platforms and onshore oil and gas processing plants. About 88% of the region's offshore oil production remains shut and more than 100 platforms unoccupied after the storm made landfall Aug. 29.
The Coast Guard has been conducting flyovers off the coast of Louisiana looking for spills. It is providing information to federal, state and local authorities responsible for cleaning the sites.
Flights on Sunday found evidence of a new leak from an offshore well and reported another leak responsible for a miles-long streak of oil was no longer active. A third report of oil near a drilling platform could not be confirmed, it said.
Offshore oil producer Talos Energy Inc, which hired divers and a clean up crew to respond to an oil spill in Bay Marchand, said old pipelines damaged during the storm were apparently responsible for the visible streak.
The spill off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, had decreased substantially since it was first discovered last week, Talos said. The company is not the owner of the pipelines and had ceased operations in the area four years ago, said spokesman Brian L. Grove.
An offshore well belonging to S2 Energy was discharging oil about five miles (8 km) away from the Bay Marchand site, the Coast Guard said. The company told the Coast Guard it has secured the wellhead and it was no longer discharging oil.
S2 did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru and Gary McWilliams in Houston Editing by Marguerita Choy) ((Reuters.Briefs@thomsonreuters.com;))