Relief well planned for Gulf of Mexico gas leak

July 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

NEW ORLEANS, July 25 (UPI) -- U.S. safety regulators said Thursday the flow of natural gas at a partially collapsed rig off the coast of Louisiana has stopped.

Walter Oil & Gas Corp. told regulators Tuesday it lost control of a natural gas well off the coast of Louisiana during production preparations. Natural gas from the leak ignited Tuesday evening and, by Wednesday, part of a drilling rig owned by Hercules Offshore had collapsed.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Thursday the flow of natural gas from the well 55 miles off Louisiana has stopped. The fire at the rig had dwindled to a small flame, they said in a statement.

The BSEE said the well stopped flowing because small pieces of sediment and sand flow restricted the faulty well.

No injuries were reported from the incident. Hercules said it contracted a third-party environmental consultant "to monitor currents, wind direction and wave height for the potential trajectory of any conceivable environmental spill."

The BSEE said it expected Walter Oil & Gas to submit an application to drill a relief well to control the incident. There was no update from Walter Oil & Gas early Thursday.

"BSEE's investigation into the cause of the loss of well control is underway in coordination with Coast Guard," the agency said in a statement.

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