BP Admits to “Investigating” New Sheen in the Gulf as Reports Surface of Boats Laying Boom Near Deepwater Horizon Site


We are looking for clarity this morning as mainstream media outlets, including the Associated Press, are reporting that BP has admitted to “investigating a new sheen in the Gulf of Mexico.” That muffled admission is in line with what our independent sources told us, and what we reported here, yesterday: That BP has hired a fleet of boats to lay boom in the vicinity of the old Deepwater Horizon site. This morning’s AP report is brief and filled with the vagueness and “wiggle room” that we’ve have come to expect from BP’s crisis-management specialists:

LONDON (AP) – Oil giant BP says it is investigating a new sheen in the Gulf of Mexico.

A catastrophic explosion at the energy giant’s Macondo well in the Gulf on April 2010 killed 11 men and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP did not make clear Thursday what the source of the new sheen was, but told The Associated Press in London it was not found near “any existing BP operations.” A sheen is a shiny coating that floats on the surface of the water, and could come from leaked or spilled oil.

London-based BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams said that “there is a lot of sheen in the Gulf of Mexico area” and that the substance did not necessarily come from a BP site or well.

If we look carefully at the language – which you can bet was meticulously edited and honed – there is nothing that would indicate that the source of the sheen is not the Macondo Well site. BP telling the AP in London that the sheen was not found near “any existing BP operations,” does not discount the Macondo Well as a possible source. Since it was capped last year, the Macondo Well would not be considered an “existing” BP operation.

We have received credible reports that BP has hired a fleet of boats to lay boom in the area of the Macondo wellhead. We are not a news organization, but we have built a strong, sizable network of partners and independents sources over the course of the last year that provides us with a wealth of information. We feel obligated to share what we feel are credible reports with our clients and the public on matters that concern their health, their livelihoods and their environment. So that is what we’ve done here. We believe this is of particular import in the absence of any transparency on the part of BP or the federal government.

We had multiple sources confirm the “boom report” yesterday. Those reports coupled with the fact that my research team identified fresh BP-fingerprinted oil (MC252) coming ashore on Breton Island in late March 2011 (see link to my previous post and lab report below), led to our breaking news post yesterday. I should also note that we have credible reports of fresh Macondo oil coming ashore in a multitude of spots up and down the Gulf Coast, as far away as Florida’s South Walton County. So, based on a lab-certified Macondo Well fingerprint, we knew (and reported here) that fresh oil was coming from the Macondo site several months after the well was officially “killed,” we just didn’t know how much. The presence of a fleet of boats laying boom in the area seems to indicate the amount of oil could very likely be significant.

In an effort to get to the truth, our go-to pilot, Bonny Schumaker from the enviro nonprofit On Wings of Care, will be flying over the site tomorrow. We will be posting details and photos from the scene immediately as they become available.

Read my previous post on fresh oil from the Macondo Well coming ashore on Breton Island in late March 2011: https://www.stuarthsmith.com/is-bps-macondo-well-site-still-leaking-fresh-oil-on-the-gulf-raises-concerns-and-haunting-memories

The AP report is here: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BP_GULF?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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