Chemical tests from new oil near DeepWater Horizon site matches last year’s BP oil spill samples. (Pictures and fly over video inside)


As reported on August 20, 2011 (read previous blog, New sub sea oil plumes found near the Deepwater Horizon oil platform) the oil sheen sitting nearly on top of the Deepwater Horizon rig (the location of the last year’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico) is quickly expanding.

On Wings of Care, California nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife, wild habitat, and natural ecosystems, flew over the reported oil sheen and the pilot Bonny Shumaker stated that the oil “stretched for miles with one continuous sheen stretching for nearly 10 miles.” (Pictured above.  Credit: Press-Register/Jeff Dute).

To view the August 30, 2011 fly over of the oil spill (Credit: On Wings of Care) click below:

Robert Bea, an internationally prominent petroleum engineer and professor emeritus at the Berkeley campus of the University of California indicates that he feels that the primary source of the oil with the highest probability is the Macondo well/Deep Water Horizon rig.

“(It) looks suspicious. The point of surfacing about 1 mile from the well is about the point that the oil should show up, given the seafloor at 5,000 feet – natural circulation currents would cause the drift,” Bea said. “A Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) could be used to ‘back track’ the oil that is rising to the surface to determine the source. This should be a first order of business to confirm the source.”

On August 26, 2011- BP, the US Coast Guard, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, representatives from the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida as well as the GCIMT (Gulf Coast Incident Management Team) came together in New Orleans, LA to participate in a standard visual wellhead inspection via Remote Operated Vehicles of the Macondo Well (MC 252) and the relief well.

In the video- there were small, intermittent bubbles rising from cement ports at the base of the wellheads. These bubbles were determined to be nitrogen bubbles, a residual byproduct of the nitrifed foam used in setting the wells but no oil or hydrocarbons were found indicating a breach of the cement plug and/or the areas of the Macondo Well.

Yet samples of the sheen were  analyzed by Louisiana State University researchers and tests showed it was a chemical match to the 4 million+ barrels of sweet Louisiana crude that gushed from BP’s exploding well.

Scientists suggest that perhaps it was trapped within the riser pipe or the rig itself which is still sitting at the bottom of the Gulf which could result in trapped oil floating out of the wreckage.

Another option is that the bacteria degraded the oil on the seafloor and the lighter fractions were released and floated to the surface although that oil would be considerably more weathered.

Now the questions are directed towards BP once again- how much oil is trapped, why has the wreckage not been salvaged  and why has there not been a concentrated efforts on ways to clean up the ocean floor (and subsequently; add oxygen back into the dead zones?)

Copyright (c) August 31, 2011. All rights reserved.

New sub sea oil plumes found near the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. (Picture inside)


While BP continues to assure Gulf Coast residents that the MacondoWell/ Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated our coastline less than a year and a half ago has been capped since September 2010 is no longer leaking any oil, recent reports and flyover pictures of approximately subsea oil plumes, 300 feet wide and separated from the next one by about that same distance, running roughly south to north near the Macondo Well (image left,  Credit: Jonathan Henderson and Tarik Zawia) are showing otherwise.

There are several theories behind the fresh oil and, forewarning, none of them are pretty.

The 1st first theory is that the cap that was placed on the well is leaking.  Although BP ignores this concern, it is still a very real possibility. Especially after Japan’s multiple severe earthquakes. It is logical to assume that considering the massive damage and the crippling of Japan’s nuclear plants- that the vibration of the earthquake could have reached the Gulf of Mexico and knocked loose the already fragile plug.

A 2nd theory, is that all of the oil BP that sunk to the seafloor due to nearly 2 million gallons of toxic Corexit 9500 & 9527A dispersant is beginning to break free and rise to the surface and blacken the coastline with fresh oil.  However, according to civil engineer and petroleum expert, Marco Kaltofen, oil that has been lying on the seafloor for several months would be much significantly more weathered than the fresh oil that is currently spotted.

Along the same theory, it is also possible  that the broken riser pipe and oil rig platform has trapped oil inside of it and it is slowly making its way to the surface.

A 3rd theory is that this 6 miles long and rainbow-colored oil sheen is coming from  Green Canyon Block 463, which is near the Macondo well site, officials state that its “probably”  silt from a subsurface shallow water pool. Records for that well indicate that it was drilled through a shallow lens of groundwater. The company is awaiting the results of tests on samples of the material and something tells me that we are going to waiting on those test results for a loooong time.

A 4th theory is that the oil sheen is contributed by BP’s Thunder Horse oil platform in the Mississippi Canyon  on August 16, 2011 where a  0.000108 gallons of oil was released but, let’s be real, that is less than half a CC and would not be enough to create a 6 mile long oil sheen. BP has admitted that “a silvery oil sheen measuring 2 feet by 30 feet has been reported on the surface” there, and they have supposedly sent vessels to monitor the situation.

A 5th theory, and this is by far the most concerning, is that oil may be coming from cracks and fissures in the seafloor caused by months of high-impact work  of BP failed capping attempts of the Maconda Well.  If this is the case,  there is a possibility of hundreds of little cracks and fissure (picture the seafloor cracks like a broken windshield) and  to the extent of my knowledge, there is no known way to cap the cracks and fissures which means the oil would continually leak into the Gulf of Mexico.

Either way, there is new oil in the Gulf of Mexico and it is, coincidentally, near the Deepwater/Macondo oil platform.

Unfortunately and dishearteningly, while  everyone is pointing fingers in attempt to escape responsibility for the leaked oil and no reports show that there are any intentions of cleaning it up; the Gulf of Mexico and her inhabitants are – once again- at the mercy of big oil.

Copyright (c) August 20, 2011. All rights reserved.