New BP Spill Feared in the Gulf of Mexico


Photo of the original BP Gulf Spill: NOAA's National Ocean Service

A large sheen has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico, and many are already pointing fingers at BP. Fears are percolating that oil is leaking from the supposedly sealed Macondo well, the site of last year's devastating accident. The oil giant said that it has sent mini-subs out to investigate, but BP is already denying that its operations have anything to do with the sheen. Local investigators aren't so sure. The AP reports on BP's investigation, noting that the company said today that "the sheen was found near two abandoned exploration well sites in the Green Canyon Block in the Gulf of Mexico. According to an online map by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Green Canyon Block - a large square-shaped area of water south of Louisiana - is south and west of the Mississippi Canyon Block where BP's Macondo well blew up."

The sheen is undoubtedly raising the specter of the catastrophic oil spill that was still in progress this time last year. But according to the AP, "U.S.-based BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said the company had sent a remotely operated mini-sub to examine the abandoned exploration wells over the weekend," and that "there is no immediate indication it was the result of a new oil spill."

But others, like the New Orleans environmental plaintiff's lawyer Stuart H. Smith, have received word that BP's a lot more concerned than it lets on. At his website, he writes that "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."

He claims that (emphasis mine):

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, as reported in a previous post (see below), 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.

That would indeed be a truly horrifying prospect, as there would be no precedent for sealing such a deeply damaged well. Again, the jury is still out as to what is causing the sheen. And remember, the BP spill was really our fault, and it was bound to happen again, in one way or another. Stay tuned for updates as the story develops.

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