UPDATED: Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 10:15am
Corpus Christi, TX (KWKT) — Federal, state and local agencies and responders are working Wednesday to mitigate possible impact from an oil platform that has a small leak of water coming from a large tank that also contains crude oil and is located about 5 miles off Matagorda Island, Texas.
Tuesday, the Sabco Operating Company notified the Coast Guard of the leak on the bottom of a holding tank on Matagorda Island 629L fixed oil platform. The Coast Guard, partnering with local, state, and federal agencies, stood up an incident management team, to closely monitor the actions being taken by Sabco Operating Company and to ensure any environmental impact is minimized.
The tank consists of more than 300,000 gallons of medium crude oil product sitting on more than 150,000 gallons of water that acts as a buffer to prevent the release of product in the event a leak. Water is currently being pumped into the tank faster than the estimated three-gallon-per-minute release rate from the partially plugged half-inch size hole.
Sabco Operating Company arranged for the oil barge Andrea 2604 to arrive Thursday and is expected to have the product removed by Thursday afternoon. Responders are on standby to quickly respond if needed throughout the evolution.
“Although presently anticipated to have minimal impact to the environment, Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi will be aggressively working with the responsible party and all of our partner agencies to properly execute the response to this potential threat,” said Coast Guard Capt. Randal Ogrydziak, the federal on scene coordinator for the response.
The incident management team consists of the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Sabco Operating Company, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service.
The company has ceased all operations at the platform and is waiting for ultrasound testing of the material around the hole before attempting repairs to prevent further damage and greater discharge rates.
The Coast Guard Cutter Amberjack and Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters will be on scene throughout this operation for crews to validate that all proper actions are being taken. The Coast Guard is asking all boaters to keep a safe distance of at least one half mile from the oil platform while responders work to resolve this potential threat.