By Houston Business Journal

Apache Corp. has plugged the flow of natural gas from a platform leak in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a statement by federal energy regulators.

The leak occurred on a platform near East Cameron Block 278, about 93 miles offshore Louisiana, south of Lake Charles, in about 173 feet of water.

The platform had not been in production for nearly 10 years and was being used to process natural gas and condensate from other facilities. All workers were evacuated after the leak was spotted.

According to the statement on the The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) website, personnel with Houston-based Apache (NYSE: APA) re-boarded the platform Jan. 19 and began work to kill the leaking well. Bureau engineers approved the well control procedures, which were successful in stopping the flow of natural gas. Apache has begun work to permanently plug the well using approved procedures.

Apache moved a jack-up rig, Hercules 200, on location Jan. 23 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 stand-by awaiting results of the well-plugging operations, the statement said.

BOEMRE will conduct an investigation of the incident.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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