Well beneath sunken US rig has serious oil leak

* Well beneath sunken rig leaks 1,000 barrels per day oil

* U.S. Coast Guard calls it “a very serious spill”

* Stormy seas hinder rescue efforts

By Chris Baltimore

HOUSTON, April 24 (BestGrowthStock) – An oil well on the ocean
floor beneath a drilling rig that exploded and sank into the
Gulf of Mexico began spewing oil on Saturday, the U.S. Coast
Guard said.

The well, 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) beneath the ocean
surface, was leaking about 1,000 barrels per day of oil, a
Coast Guard spokeswoman said, in what the agency called a “very
serious spill.” Remote underwater vehicles detected oil leaking
from the riser and drill pipe, the spokeswoman said.

“We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are
using all our resources to help contain it,” Coast Guard Petty
Officer Connie Terrell said.

Transocean Ltd’s (RIG.N: ) Deepwater Horizon sank on Thursday
after burning since Tuesday following an explosion while
finishing a well for BP Plc (BP.L: ) 42 miles (68 km) off the
Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard on Friday suspended a search
for 11 missing workers from the rig, who are presumed dead.

BP has deployed an armada of ships and aircraft to contain
the oil slick, which could threaten Louisiana’s fragile
coastline if it is not contained. Cleanup operations are
currently on hold due to stormy seas, Terrell said.

So far, the spill is not comparable with the Exxon Valdez
disaster, which spilled about 11 million gallons (50 million
litres) of oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska when it
ran aground in 1989. The Transocean well is spewing about
42,000 gallons (190,900 litres) of oil a day into the ocean,
the Coast Guard estimates.

The explosion came almost three weeks after President
Barack Obama unveiled plans for a limited expansion of U.S.
offshore oil and gas drilling. The explosion did not affect
U.S. oil markets.

The blast occurred about 10 p.m. CDT on Tuesday (0300 GMT
Wednesday) as the rig was capping a discovery well pending
production, company officials said. Some 115 of the 126 workers
on board at the time of the explosion were rescued.

It was the worst oil rig disaster since 2001, when a rig
operated by Petrobras off the Brazilian coast exploded and
killed 11 workers. The Piper Alpha rig in the North Sea off
Scotland exploded in 1988, killing 167.
(Reporting by Chris Baltimore; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Well beneath sunken US rig has serious oil leak