The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Topics: Petroleum, Drilling rig, United States Coast Guard Pages: 2 (633 words) Published: December 8, 2012
The oil in a slick detected in the Gulf of Mexico last month matched oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill two years ago, the Coast Guard said Wednesday night, ending one mystery and creating another. “The exact source of the oil is unclear at this time but could be residual oil associated with the wreckage or debris left on the seabed from the Deepwater Horizon incident,” the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard added that “the sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.” One government expert said the thin sheen, just microns thick, was 3 miles by 300 yards on Wednesday. Some oil drilling experts said it was unlikely that BP’s Macondo well, which suffered a blowout on April 20, 2010, was leaking again given the extra precautions taken when it was finally sealed after spilling nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the gulf. BP declined to comment. But a BP internal slide presentation said the new oil sheen probably came from the riser, a long piece of pipe that had connected the drilling rig to the well a mile below the sea surface. The presentation said that the size and persistence of this slick, the persistent location of the oil slick origin point, and the chemistry of the samples taken from the slick ... suggest that the likely source of the slick is a leak of Macondo….oil mixed with drilling mud that had been trapped in the riser of the Deepwater Horizon rig. But Ian MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University and a spill expert, cautioned said that the origin of the new oil remains uncertain. “The jury is out here,” he said, adding that it was too early “to rule out that this is oil freshly released from the reservoir.” The sheen, located about 50 miles off Louisiana’s shore in the Mississippi Canyon block 252 where the Macondo well was drilled, was detected in satellite images taken on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14. The Coast Guard said the size of the sheen has varied with weather conditions. Samples of the...
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