Company uses ‘bridge plug’ on Gulf gas well

GULF OF MEXICO — A well that seeped natural gas for several days last week has been temporarily plugged, with work still needed to plug it permanently, federal regulators say.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said today that Energy Resource Technology, LLC used a “bridge plug” to isolate the lower part of the well about 75 miles off Louisiana’s coast.

The inactive well began leaking late July 9 while the company was trying to plug it permanently. Drilling fluid pumped into the well on Thursday stopped the flow of natural gas and the oil-water mixture called condensate.

The bureau’s news release did not say when ERT installed the plug or estimate how much gas and condensate leaked from the well. Spokeswoman Eileen Angelico said she could not provide additional information.

BSEE will review remaining work and investigate why the well began leaking, the news release said. It said the investigation “will include a meeting with ERT to discuss their preparation and operational procedures associated with this incident as well as their overall performance as an operator on the Outer Continental Shelf.”

The well is one of three on a platform in 144 feet of water. Its owner, Talos Energy of Houston, said production from the other two wells was shut down after the leak was found today. A small number of workers on the platform were safely evacuated.

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