New Orleans-based Energy Partners Ltd. (EPL) on Friday said it had retained a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into "possible environmental violations" at its East Bay field in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The East Bay field, located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, is EPL's largest single holding.

EPL said that a few days ago it met with representatives of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard "and was informed that they are conducting an investigation into possible criminal violations arising out of those on-site inspections." EPL said it "intends to cooperate fully with the government's investigation" and "operations in the field remain unaffected by the investigation."

EPL retained the law firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre LLP.

The independent's operations are focused along the U.S. Gulf Coast, both onshore in South Louisiana and offshore in the shallow-to-moderate depths of the GOM shelf. It is in the process of divesting some of its properties, including a package of offshore properties.

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