NATIONAL NEWS

$3.1 million proposed to settle 2017 spill in Gulf of Mexico

Apr 19, 2023, 12:50 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana energy company has reached a tentative $3.1 million settlement with the federal government over a 2017 Gulf of Mexico oil leak.

The agreement, called a consent decree, was filed in federal court in New Orleans on Wednesday following the filing of a lawsuit earlier in the day.

The settlement said the company does not admit to liability in connection with the leak of about 16,000 barrels (about 672,000 gallons or 2.5 million liters) of crude oil from a site about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Venice, Louisiana. The suit against Covington, Louisiana-based LLOG Exploration sought compensation for costs incurred by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in assessing the damage.

A December 2019 report by the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement attributed the oil spill to a failed connection device, known as a jumper, at an underwater well head. The leak of oil is believed to have begun on Oct. 11, 2017 and lasted “at least 32 hours,” according to the lawsuit. The leak wasn’t detected for several hours, according to the report, which included recommendations that the industry improve leak detection methods.

The lawsuit doesn’t detail any environmental damage. At the time of the spill in 2017, the Coast Guard said the leaked oil was not expected to reach the shore.

LLOG didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, sent via its website Wednesday. There will be a public comment period before the agreement is approved, according to court documents.

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$3.1 million proposed to settle 2017 spill in Gulf of Mexico