An offshore platform about 93 miles south of Lake Charles, LA, in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) used to process natural gas has been evacuated following discovery of an underwater gas leak, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

The leak was discovered about 10 a.m. CST Sunday by an Apache Corp. crew, which saw bubbling near the platform. Apache said Tuesday it is investigating the "water disturbance" using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) near East Cameron Block 278 platform B. No sheen or other evidence of hydrocarbons were visible Tuesday; however, a sheen had been noted on Monday, the company said.

"Results of the ROV survey will determine the next steps in responding to the water disturbance," Apache said.

Wells on the platform had not been in production for several years. Apache had initiated plugging and abandonment (P&A) operations activities when the water disturbance was sighted Sunday. Prior to shutting in the platform for P&A operations, the platform was processing approximately 20 MMcf/d of gas from other facilities.

Apache has notified regulatory authorities and is coordinating its response activities with them, the company said.

In a separate incident, El Paso Corp., owner of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, told NGI it is investigating a leak in the area of the pipeline in the GOM. "We had a producer report late [Tuesday] afternoon that bubbles were coming to the surface in the West Delta Block 39 area. We're checking it out this morning," said El Paso spokesman Richard Wheatley.

"Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is investigating a pipeline leak in the West Delta 39 Block. There have been no reports of injury or fire associated with this leak. The exact impact to throughput and individual producers is unknown at this time; however, it is expected to be minimal," the company said in an informational posting for shippers.

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