Half of Louisiana oil spill recovered

April 7, 2002 at 6:30 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, April 7 (UPI) -- About half of the 75,000 gallons of light crude oil that leaked from a pipeline at New Lake south of New Orleans on Saturday was recovered by late Sunday, Coast Guard and BP Pipelines officials said.

About 24,400 feet of containment boom was deployed around the spill 25 miles south of New Orleans near Lafitte. There were no reports of any impact to birds or other wildlife, the officials said.

About 100 workers, 31 boats, nine shallow skimmers and several large hopper barges were cleaning up the spill, an operation which could take several days to complete, according to Daren Bodeau, a spokesman for BP Pipelines, the pipeline operator.

Divers discovered a 3-inch hole in the line Sunday and made a temporary repair, Bodeau said. The flow was shutdown remotely by a control station in Tulsa, Okla., after the leak was detected early Saturday, he said.

"The pipeline may have been struck by a vessel but we are still investigating," he said.

Bodeau said the pipeline would be raised from the water for a permanent repair later.

BP Pipelines owns 70 percent of the pipeline and Murphy Oil the remaining 30 percent. The 24-inch line serves two refineries in the southeast Louisiana area.

The spill was much smaller that one a year ago on the Mississippi River near Port Sulphur, La., in which 550,000 gallons of crude leaked from a tanker. It was the largest spill in U.S. waters since the Exxon Valdez's 10-million-gallon spill in March 1989 in Alaska.

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