Updated Sep 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Divers find suspected source of oil spill in Gulf

Cranes at an oil industry support facility in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, U.S., on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Divers responding to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana, which erupted in the wake of Hurricane Ida, uncovered a broken pipeline on the ocean floor as the apparent source on Sunday.

The latest: They found a 12-inch pipeline "displaced from its original trench location, which appears to be bent and open ended," said Talos Energy, a Houston-based company that's paid for the divers and the cleanup, in an emailed statement. Talos said the pipeline didn't belong to the company.

 An aerial survey image of the spill captured Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
An aerial survey image of the spill captured Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Photo: NOAA
  • "Additionally, two non-Talos owned [four-inch] lines have been identified in the vicinity that are open ended and appear to be previously abandoned," the statement added.

The big picture: The spill is some two miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana — a key oil industry hub and staging area, and the place where Ida first made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane last Sunday.

  • Talos is working with federal agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard, which is investigating the spill.
  • A Coast Guard spokesperson told Reuters that Talos had hired Clean Gulf Associates, which put measures in place to minimize the environmental impact and "contracted the private dive team" to find the slick's source.

Of note: The slick was still out at sea and away from the Louisiana shoreline as of Sunday night, according to multiple reports.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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