Here We Go Again

September 2, 2011

Just as tropical storm warnings were issued Friday for the Gulf of Mexico, there’s come reports the infamous BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster is coming back to life.

There’s reports oil is leaking from the supposedly sealed Macondo well: Floating in a boat near the well site, Press-Register reporters watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into iridescent yellow patches. Those patches quickly expanded into rainbow sheens 4 to 5 feet across. Each expanding bloom released a pronounced and pungent petroleum smell.
That report nearly 10 days ago from the Mobile Press-Register — the slick is now getting bigger with BP in denial.

(Illustration found here).

Nearly two weeks ago, New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith blogged there was a big, bad BP fox scrambling around in the hen-house:

Oil from the Macondo Well site is fouling the Gulf anew — and BP is scrambling to contain both the crude and the PR nightmare that waits in the wings.
Reliable sources tell us that BP has hired 40 boats from Venice to Grand Isle to lay boom around the Deepwater Horizon site — located just 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.
The fleet rushed to the scene late last week and worked through the weekend to contain what was becoming a massive slick at the site of the Macondo wellhead, which was officially “killed” back in September 2010.
The truly frightening part of this development is the oil may be coming from cracks and fissures in the seafloor caused by the work BP did during its failed attempts to cap the runaway Macondo Well — and that type of leakage can’t be stopped, ever.

And then the non-proft environmental groups OnWingsOfCare and Gulf Restoration Network took a helicopter ride over the area and reported:

We found significant amounts of oil in globule form still at the Deepwater Horizon (DH) site and at the Taylor Energy site, and we saw miles-long surface rainbow sheens from two different leaking platforms between DH and the Chandeleur Islands.
Eight shrimp boats with their nets in the water were within one mile of these two leaking platforms.
In the ‘blue waters’ out toward the DH site we were puzzled by some long, wide, unnatural-looking dark-green colored stripes.
Finally, dark brownish-red subsurface plumes like what we had previously documented around Breton Island (Mar 2011) spanned miles in width and length, right up to the coastlines, beginning where the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (“MR-GO”) meets the Gulf south to Breton Sound.
With all of that, we were ecstatic also to see three sperm whales, one leatherback turtle, four whale sharks, tuna, redfish, bottlenose dolphin, and cownose rays.

The slick is now considered to be about 10 miles wide.

And BP denies is all: “None of this is true,” the British oil giant said in a statement in response to reports that it had deployed boats and containment boom to the well site. It noted the well was capped in July of last year, permanently sealed in September, and continues to be monitored.
Yeah, right — some famous last words.

The Christian Science Monitor carried a piece yesterday on the situation.
There seems to be conflict between BP and environmental groups over oil samples and whether the oil slick is coming directly from the sealed Deepwater Horizon well.
From CSM:

The disconnect between what environmental groups, media organizations, and academics are finding and the results from BP and federal authorities is causing some to say that an independent group is needed to monitor oil sheens in the region, particularly near the Macondo site.
“There’s still a ton of questions out there regarding where [the oil] is from, and it’s on the Coast Guard to figure it out and to let the public know,” says Dan Favre, communications director for the Gulf Restoration Network.

Another brick in the wall as one must remember the bullshit that spewed from BP and US officials right after the accident, especially the White House, over how bad the blow-out really was and how much oil was really leaking.
From McClatchy last October:

Government scientists wanted to tell Americans early on how bad the BP oil spill could get, but the White House denied their request to make the worst-case models public, a report by the staff of the national panel investigating the spill said Wednesday.
White House officials denied that they tried to suppress the information.

The staff paper said that underestimating the flow rates “undermined public confidence in the federal government’s response” by creating the impression that the government was either incompetent or untrustworthy.
The paper said that the loss of trust “fuels public fears.”
In a separate report, the commission’s staff concluded that despite the Coast Guard’s insistence that it was always responding to the worst case scenario, the failure to have an accurate flow rate slowed the response and lulled Obama administration officials into a false belief that the spill would be controlled easily.

This latest incident in the tragic history of the Deepwater Horizon could be bad.

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