Image: Oil spews from a wellhead in Barataria Bay on the coast of Louisiana
Patrick Semansky  /  AP
Oil spews from a wellhead in Barataria Bay on the coast of Louisiana after it was struck by a tugboat on Tuesday. A crew capable of capping the well is expected onsite later this afternoon.
updated 7/29/2010 1:31:22 AM ET 2010-07-29T05:31:22

A ruptured wellhead in Louisiana's Barataria Bay has spread a slick of oil covering 6 square miles, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday.

Oil, natural gas and water spewed from the abandoned underwater wellhead hit by a barge pushed by a tug.

The Coast Guard ordered the last recorded owner of the well, a company called Cydeco, to pay for the clean-up costs.

Wild Well Control Inc. of Houston has been hired to secure the well and Environmental Health and Services has been hired to manage the cleanup, the Coast Guard said.

By late Wednesday, 10,500 feet of containment boom and 3,000 feet of absorbent boom has been deployed to contain the spill.

Thirty-one boats have responded to the spill, said Coast Guard Capt. John Arenstam.

The Coast Guard said a towboat was pushing the barge on Mud Lake when it hit the wellhead. The towboat captain told investigators the well was not lit as required.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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