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(Image courtesy of BP)

A malfunction at BP’s northwest Indiana refinery has caused crude oil to leak into Lake Michigan after a malfunction, the company has said.

BP is investigating how much crude could have entered the lake from the refinery’s cooling system, which is located just 20 miles south of Chicago.

According to company spokesman Scott Dean, booms have been placed across a cove at the company’s Whiting refinery where the oil spill was discovered by workers on Monday.

BP believes any oil released during the malfunction has been confined to the cove, Dean said.

Dan Goldblatt of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said an agency staffer reported seeing a large sheen on the lake about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

BP says that sheen had dissipated within several hours later.