Shell, Transocean Stop Leak in Gulf of Mexico Well (RDS-A, RIG, BP)

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A small leak in a line feeding drilling fluid to a well owned and operated by Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) and using a rig owned by Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) has spilled less than 6,000 gallons of drilling fluid into the Gulf of Mexico. The leak was reported on Sunday night and the well was shut down on Monday.

The well is located in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 20 miles from the location of the Macondo well, where a Transocean rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling 5 million barrels of oil from a well owned by BP plc (NYSE: BP).

The recent accident is reportedly far less severe. The original report indicated that 319 barrels (about 13,400 gallons) of drilling fluid escaped. MarketWatch reports that Shell now says that 7,560 gallons of oil and 5,829 gallons of drilling fluid leaked into the Gulf.

Federal regulators have approved Shell’s clean-up plan which will include disconnecting the drilling fluid line from the well’s blowout preventer. There is no estimate of how long the well will be shut-in.

Paul Ausick

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