Federal regulators said over the weekend that natural gas flowing from a Gulf of Mexico platform jointly owned 50/50 by Apache Corp. and Stone Energy has stopped (see Daily GPI, Jan. 20).

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) said it is still continuing to oversee Apache's response to the natural gas leak near East Cameron Block 278 Platform B, which is located south of Lake Charles, LA, in about 173 feet of water. The platform has not been in production for nearly a decade, and is currently used to process gas and condensate from other facilities.

Well control procedures from the platform were successful in stopping the flow of natural gas from the well, according to BOEM. Apache has now begun work to permanently plug the well using procedures that were approved by BOEM.

At BOEM's direction, Apache moved a jackup rig on location to drill a relief well in the event that the source control procedures from the platform are not successful. The rig has completed preliminary steps in preparing the area for drilling and is on standby awaiting the results of the well-plugging operations, BOEM said.

Operations were suspended when the gas leak was discovered on Jan. 16 by an Apache crew, which saw bubbling near the platform. BOEM notified other agencies and said it is continuing to closely oversee the situation. It also is conducting an investigation of the incident.

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