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Leaking Gulf well sealed; sheen expected to evaporate

GULF OF MEXICO — A gas well that started leaking several days ago in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast was sealed Friday, but more work must be done to permanently secure the well, federal officials said.

Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said Energy Resource Technology LLC began sealing the well Thursday evening. The process, approved by BSEE, involved pumping drilling fluid into the well about 75 miles southwest of Port Fourchon.

“More work is required to permanently secure the well,” Angelico said in a statement from BSEE. “In the interim, BSEE is requiring that ERT monitor the well for any changes.”

Company officials said the well had been out of production for years and was being permanently plugged when it began leaking small amounts of gas and an oil-water mixture called condensate on Monday.

The Coast Guard said a small sheen was visible on the Gulf surface, but company officials expect it to evaporate.

The well did not suffer a blowout, and there was no explosion.

Preparations and work to permanently seal the well are expected to continue through the weekend, Angelico said.

The Houston-based Talos Energy platform sits over three wells in water 144 feet deep. Production from the other two wells was shut down after the leak was found on Monday. A small number of workers on the platform were safely evacuated.

The Talos site is to the west of BP PLC’s Macondo well, which blew out in April 2010. An estimated 200 million gallons of crude oil escaped the well before it was capped. The Macondo well was about a mile under the Gulf surface.

Coast Guard officials said the Talos incident is nowhere near the scope of the BP event.

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