Finally, some answers. After months of trying to make the fresh oil surfacing at the Deepwater Horizon site a “nonissue,” BP has finally copped to what’s really happening at ground zero of last year’s massive oil spill – where just last week, flyover surveillance footage captured a small fleet of large “oil-related” vessels working the waters. It’s hard to hide those ships the size of football fields, even in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a bombshell revelation that’s going viral, BP has admitted to conducting a study to “track oil from seabed to surface” in the Macondo Prospect. Sounds to me like they’ve found a leak.
Not so fast. A leak would suggest BP is to blame (perish the thought), but a “natural seep” would imply an act of God, conveniently out of the hands of mere mortals. Here’s how Sabrina Canfield covered the BP disclosure for Courthouse News Service on Nov. 21:
In an emailed statement late Friday, a representative from BP verified that several vessels are in the vicinity of the Macondo well: “There are several vessels there participating in a study of natural oil seeps. This study has been ongoing for the past month or so. Data continues being collected and we provided an update on the natural oil seeps at the SETAC [Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry] conference in Boston this week. … The study is documenting the specific locations of these seeps and is seeking to track oil flow from seabed to surface,” BP wrote.
If there are seeps in the area, they are not natural. I can assure you of that. BP was required to conduct a seafloor survey prior to applying for a permit to drill. If these seeps were not discovered during the survey – which they apparently weren’t – they must be related to the disaster and the heavy-handed methods used to attempt to seal the well. Consider this from my Oct. 13, 2011, post:
As you may recall, back in late August, BP lowered an ROV down to inspect the Macondo wellhead. The video feed, viewed by federal officials in New Orleans, confirmed that the well itself isn’t leaking. Although I’d like to see that video released to the public (to assuage the cynics), for now I’ll take the feds at their word.
If the riser, the rig and the wellhead aren’t leaking oil, where is it all coming from? As I and others have suggested before, the oil may be seeping through cracks and fissures on the seafloor. Remember, BP was banging around down there with heavy machinery and massive pieces of equipment during its many unsuccessful attempts to stem the flow of oil. One of the containment domes BP lowered over top the gushing well last year was four stories high and weighed more than 70 tons. That’s a lot of weight and stress being applied.
Back in August, I called for a full survey of the seafloor surrounding the Macondo wellhead. And today I am renewing that call. It’s not enough to say the wellhead itself isn’t leaking. As noted above, my guess is the heavy stress BP applied to the seafloor created cracks and fissures around the wellhead, and they are the source of all this fresh oil we’re seeing at the site and coming ashore more than 100 miles away.
The truly devastating part of the “seafloor crack” scenario is that kind of leakage can’t be stopped. You can’t plug a crack or a fissure, all you can do is try to contain and recover the oil.
So although BP has confessed to conducting a study at the epicenter of last year’s 200-million-gallon spill, its disclosed focus is just another example of the oil giant’s inability to tell the whole truth.
Stay tuned, we’ll be bringing you updates as details emerge.
Read the Courthouse News Service report here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/11/21/41602.htm
Read my entire July 25 post here: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/is-bps-macondo-well-site-still-leaking-fresh-oil-on-the-gulf-raises-concerns-and-haunting-memories
Read my Aug. 17 post that broke the story of the “new Macondo leak”: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/oil-rising-again-from-macondo-well-bp-hires-fleet-of-40-shrimp-boats-to-lay-boom-around-old-deepwater-horizon-site
© Smith Stag, LLC 2011 – All Rights Reserved