Settlement Proposed from MC209 Pipeline Spill in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters
MAY 1, 2023 — On April 19, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a proposed settlement with LLOG Exploration Offshore, LLC, valued at $3.1 million, to resolve their liability for natural resource injuries resulting from a pipeline spill that discharged oil into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The spill happened on Oct. 11-12, 2017 from an LLOG Exploration Offshore, LLC pipeline in Mississippi Canyon block 209 in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 70 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. The spill occurred at a depth of approximately 1,500 meters, and the volume of the spill is estimated at 16,000 barrels (672,000 gallons – or roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool). This was a substantial release of oil into the marine environment.
Given the depth and high pressure of the discharge, the majority of the oil was likely trapped in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the main impacts were likely to the organisms that live in the deep water column between 200 and 1500 meters. Increased contamination on the bottom near the spill site was documented, and impacts to bottom communities may have also occurred. Observations of nearby deep coral communities did not indicate that the known communities had been impacted.
Following the proposed settlement, NOAA will publish a plan for public comment that will identify potential restoration projects to offset the injuries sustained from the spill. Settlement funds will be used to plan and implement restoration activities and to reimburse NOAA's injury assessment costs.