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Crews prepare to close Gulf of Mexico leak

July 29, 2013 at 6:41 AM

NEW ORLEANS, July 29 (UPI) -- Safety regulators responding to a natural gas leak off the coast of Louisiana said preparations are under way to secure the site.

Underwater sediment managed to close off a natural gas leak last week off the Louisiana coast. Walter Oil & Gas Corp. reported the loss of control of a natural gas well Tuesday and, by Wednesday, the drilling rig had partially collapsed from fire.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard and Walter Oil & Gas Corp. are working jointly to drill a relief well, which would seal the leak.

"A relief well is drilled to intercept the target well," the BSEE said Sunday. "Once intercepted, drilling mud followed by cement will be pumped into the well to secure it."

The agency said a slight sheen was seen coming from the rig but was dissipating quickly. A 1,600-foot safety zone is in place surrounding the rig, owned by Hercules Offshore.

"BSEE's investigation into the cause of the loss of well control continues in coordination with the Coast Guard," the safety regulator said.

The BSEE said no injuries or environmental damage was reported from the incident.

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