Cameras ready for well in July gulf gas leak

Aug. 9, 2013 at 6:45 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. safety regulators responding to a July natural gas accident in the Gulf of Mexico said they were preparing for visual underwater inspections of the well.

Walter Oil & Gas Corp. reported it lost control of a natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico while preparing it for production July 23. By the next day, a natural gas cloud had ignited, destroying part of a rig owned by Hercules Offshore.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Coast Guard and Walter, operating collectively, said they were preparing to send a camera underwater to observe well conditions.

"Observations will be used to advance well intervention plans," the BSEE said in a Thursday statement. "No gas releases are reported from fixed wireless detectors placed some 30 feet from the top of the well or detection devices carried by all onsite personnel."

The well was sealed naturally by sediment and debris in a process known as bridging. The BSEE already has approved plans to seal the well permanently with cement.

More than 40 crewmembers on the rig were evacuated without incident. Sheen reported near the site had dissipated naturally. The BSEE reported no major environmental damage associated with the July release.

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