(Bloomberg) -- An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last weekmay be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 blowout at BPPlc’s Macondo well that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Delta House


The Delta House floating production facility about 40 miles (64kilometers) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, released 7,950 to 9,350barrels of oil from early Wednesday to Thursday morning, accordingto closely held operator LLOG Exploration Co. Thatwould make it the largest spill in more than seven years, data fromthe U.S. Bureau of Safetyand Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) show, even though it’s afraction of the millions of barrels ejected in the 2010incident.

Fracture in pipeline


The LLOG spill was triggered by a fracture in a flowline jumper,Rick Fowler, the company’s vice president for deepwater projects,said in an email. That’s a short pipeline used to connect nearbysubsea structures. Multiple barriers placed on either side of thefracture stopped the release, but the the flowline jumper hasn’tyet been repaired, Fowler said.

Oil production from Delta House dropped to around 57,000 barrelsof oil equivalent a day from more than 90,000 before the spill, hesaid. The subsea system affected by the fracture was shut in,though nearby connected systems weren’t. The fracture wasn’tcaused by Hurricane Nate and there were no associated injuries, hesaid.

Investigation underway


BSEE, the federal agency which regulates offshore energy andmineral extraction, started a five-member panel investigation intothe cause of the spill, according to an online statement. Themembers, including inspectors, engineers and accidentinvestigators, will issue their findings and makerecommendations.

“This panel investigation is a critical step in ensuring BSEEdetermines the cause, or causes, of the incident and developsrecommendations to prevent similar events from occurring in thefuture,” Lars Herbst, BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico region director, saidin the statement.

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