From: Matthew Bigg, Reuters
Published May 20, 2010 06:19 AM

Heavy oil from spill reaches Louisiana marshes

Heavy oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill threatened Louisiana marshlands on Thursday after washing ashore for the first time since a BP-operated rig exploded a month ago, sparking ecological disaster.

Calling it a "day that we have all been fearing," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said on Wednesday that heavy oil -- not simply tar balls or sheen -- had entered the state's prized wetlands.

"It's already here but we know more is coming," he said.

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The marshes are the nurseries for shrimp, oysters, crabs and fish that make Louisiana the leading producer of commercial seafood in the continental United States. A large no-fishing zone in Gulf waters seen as affected by the spill has been imposed.

Energy giant BP Plc scrambled to contain crude from the gushing undersea well, which ruptured after an April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers.

The company said it is now siphoning about 3,000 barrels (126,000 gallons/477,000 liters) a day of oil, from what it has estimated was a 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) a day gusher.

The company said it could begin injecting mud into the well as early as Sunday in a bid to permanently plug the leak.

BP shares rose nearly 3 percent on Thursday in early London trading.

Adding another name to the group of companies connected to the doomed rig, Schlumberger Ltd said it had a crew on the Deepwater Horizon that departed only hours before the explosion and fire that engulfed it.

The world's largest oilfield services company had not previously revealed its work on the Horizon.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6430AR20100520

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