Oil spill reported in Gulf of Mexico

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

At least 21,000 gallons of crude oil has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico near the United States mainland coast, about 30 miles off the shore of Galveston, Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard says that oil is still leaking at a rate of 80 to 400 gallons a day.

The High Island Pipeline began to leak on Sunday and was immediately shut down when a pressure loss was detected. The pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline who state that the incident is “under investigation” and that officials are working to “minimize the impact of the incident.”

“A medium crude oil pipeline ruptured 30 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, and leaked approximately 21,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, December 24,” said a press release by Coast Guard.

“There’s a 60-yard-wide oil sheen that extends for about half a mile. It is still leaking slowly, about 80 to 400 gallons a day,” added the Coast Guard.

Reports say that the oil is traveling away from any shoreline and that remaining oil is being suctioned out of the pipeline. Ships in the area have not been diverted.

“All appropriate agencies have been notified. Plains, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas General Land Office are working within a unified command system consisting of Federal and state agencies and oil spill response organizations to manage and mitigate this incident. In addition, Plains has activated its spill response plan to contain and clean up the spill. At present, Plains has mobilized Airborne Support, Inc., Clean Gulf Associates and other additional resources in an effort to minimize the consequences of the incident,” said a press release by the Plains oil company.

So far, no injuries have been reported.

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