Over the past 12 months, the company has been responsible for more than 23,000 gallons of oil spills.

Hilcorp Gulf pipeline leak

Editor’s note: This is part of The Revelator’s months-long investigation into Hilcorp Energy. For the rest of this series, click here.

Hilcorp Energy’s oil and gas operations in Louisiana have been involved in at least seven oil spills since July, including two spills that dumped thousands of gallons into the Mississippi River and marshlands along the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Scott Eustis, coastal wetland specialist for the Gulf Restoration Network, says Hilcorp’s history of regulatory violations and operating shortcuts contribute to the company’s repeated oil spills.

“If Hilcorp applied for permits properly, surveyed properly, and maintained equipment properly,” he says, “they would not have all these accidents.”

Hilcorp spokesperson Lori Nelson said in a May 10 email to The Revelator that “Hilcorp has a long history of investment which helps build and maintain Louisiana’s energy development.”

She said company “adheres to all state and federal regulations and attains necessary permits as required for our operations.”

Hilcorp’s Louisiana oil spills in the last 12 months include:

July 25, 2016: A Hilcorp abandoned pipeline leaked 4,200 gallons into the Lake Washington oil field in Plaquemines.

Aug. 23, 2016: About 42 gallons of crude oil was spilled due to an equipment failure in Little Lake Marsh.

Sept. 5, 2016: A pipeline owned by Hilcorp subsidiary Harvest Pipeline Co. was cut during dredging operations to rebuild an island and released 5,250 gallons of crude oil along the shores of Cheniere Ronquille Island.

Oct. 8, 2016: About 12,600 gallons of oil were released from the company’s Caillou Island Tank Battery in south Louisiana. Most of the oil was contained in a recovery system. On Oct. 11 about 1,050 gallons of oil was discovered on Timbalier Island that is believed to be associated with the discharge from Caillou Island.

Oct. 21, 2016: Approximately 126 gallons of crude oil were released from a storage facility in Lafitte, LA into a canal and nearby marsh area.

March 21, 2017: An abandoned wellhead leaked an estimated 840 gallons of crude oil into the Mississippi River.

April 5, 2017: A pinhole leak in a low flow oil line released more than 80 gallons of crude oil in Jefferson Parish.

Related: Oysters vs. Oil: Hilcorp’s Bayou Battle

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John Dougherty

is the investigative journalist for The Revelator. An award-winning reporter with more than 35 years’ experience covering environmental, political and economic news, he has worked for weekly and daily newspapers including the Dayton Daily News, The Phoenix Gazette and Phoenix New Times. His freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, High Country News and The Washington Post. John has produced two documentary films, “Cyanide Beach” and “Flin Flon Flim Flam,” about the efforts of two Canadian companies to build the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in southern Arizona. John loves the water and spends free time kayaking, swimming and traveling the backroads of the American West and Baja.
  • Issis

    Thank you for making us aware of this little known but obviously irresponsible company … It would be helpful to know just what those of us who don’t live in the region can do to bring pressure to bear on this company to apply for permits properly, survey properly, and maintain equipment properly to avoid future spills/leaks.

  • Jeff

    Large portions of southwest Louisiana are toxic hellholes. Hilcorp is only one of many companies contributing to this problem. There is massive illegal toxic waste dumping, massive oil company pollution, etc. Louisiana is the ultimate example of having the best government that money can buy.