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Leaking Barataria Bay oil well capped

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Officials will assess the shoreline impact from the spill Monday
  • The well has been leaking oil and natural gas since Tuesday
  • Cleanup efforts are ongoing

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) -- An abandoned well in southeastern Louisiana that had spewed a mixture of oil, gas and water for nearly a week after being struck by a barge has been capped, officials said.

The wellhead was secured at 6:05 p.m. Sunday (7:05 p.m. ET) and "is no longer emitting oil or natural gas into Barataria Bay," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Officials were set to assess potential shoreline impact on Monday. Containment and cleanup operations were ongoing, the Coast Guard said.

The well is located in a relatively shallow area in a lake off Louisiana's Barataria Bay. Authorities had said the shallow water would make sealing the well difficult because an array of barges and other vessels must navigate there.

The plan to seal the well called for mud to be pumped into it -- an effort similar to the "static kill" planned for BP's crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico, although the work was to take place on the surface, as the wellhead was spewing directly into the air.

The well is classified as "orphaned" by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. But the last owner of record was Cedyco Corp. of Houston, Texas, and U.S. and state officials said Cedyco ultimately is responsible for containing it. The Coast Guard tapped the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which the federal government makes available for natural resource damage assessments.

The wellhead had been leaking since early Tuesday. About 60,200 feet of containment boom have been laid to contain the oil and another 14,080 feet of absorbent boom is in place to soak it up. About 35 barrels, or 1,470 gallons of oil and water mix, have been recovered. The Coast Guard said a two-mile safety zone remained in effect around the well to protect vessels and people.