ERT platform evacuated after 'loss of well control'

A Gulf of Mexico platform operated by Energy Resource Technology (ERT) is apparently leaking natural gas after the company reported a "loss of well control" Tuesday morning during a temporary plugging operation, US regulators said.

The US Coast Guard and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said Ship Shoal Block 225 Platform B about 74 miles off Port Fourchon, Louisiana had been evacuated after the event.

"According to ERT’s site assessment, natural gas is flowing from the well and there is a rainbow sheen visible on the surface estimated to be more than four miles wide by three quarters of a mile long," a joint Coast Guard and BSEE statement read.

A Coast Guard spokesman said workers were actively trying to plug the well as of mid-afternoon Tuesday, but was not able to specify flow rates or expected volumes leaked.

Two other wells producing at Platform B were also shut in.

BSEE's Houma staff and Coast Guard officials in Morgan City are monitoring the situation and response, the statement said.

"Coast Guard and BSEE will conduct an investigation of the incident to determine the cause of the loss of well control," the agencies said.

A report filed to the National Response Centre at 7 am Monday said a platform on the block had leaked an estimated 4.2 gallons of crude due to an equipment failure but said the well was "under control."

In February Talos Energy completed a $620 million acquisition of ERT from Helix Energy Solutions.

According to a company statement at the time ERT assets produced about 16,155 barrels of oil equivalent in December, about 70% oil weighted.

Talos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Check back for updates.


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