Oil spilled after boat strikes shut-in well

A boat hit a shut-in oil well Tuesday in shallow waters along the Louisiana coast, causing a small oil spill, well operator Swift Energy said Wednesday.

Houston-based Swift said its well was hit about 7 p.m. Tuesday by a “marine vessel.” The well had been shut in since January 2008, when it had a production rate of 18 barrels of oil per day, the company said.

The incident “damaged the integrity of the wellhead and resulted in an outflow of water, oil and natural gas,” Swift said in a statement.

The company deployed a containment boom and skimming equipment Wednesday around the site, located in the coastal water body known as Lake Washington in Plaquemines Parish.

Swift said an aerial fly over examination of the area had been conducted, but gave no details on damage to the area. A Swift representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

“At this time, the well appears to be releasing primarily water and a small amount of oil,” the Swift statement said. “A definitive determination of oil volumes is difficult to measure currently due to the high ratio of water production.”

The company said it is working closely with government agencies to address the problem.

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