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BP Macondo Well Leaking Again?

October 12, 2012

Man Of War In Oil Slick
Carol Guzy/THE WASHINGTON POST – Oil surrounds a surfacing Portuguese man-of-war in the waters near South Pass, La. The Deepwater Horizon spill has taken an emotional toll on many people, with some describing the damage in the Gulf of Mexico as a “sacred loss” of fragile environments and endangered species.

Uh-oh. This isn’t good. From the Washington Post:

The oil in a slick detected in the Gulf of Mexico last month matched oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill two years ago, the Coast Guard said Wednesday night, ending one mystery and creating another.

“The exact source of the oil is unclear at this time but could be residual oil associated with the wreckage or debris left on the seabed from the Deepwater Horizon incident,” the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard added that “the sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.” One government expert said the thin sheen, just microns thick, was 3 miles by 300 yards on Wednesday.

Some oil drilling experts said it was unlikely that BP’s Macondo well, which suffered a blowout on April 20, 2010, was leaking again given the extra precautions taken when it was finally sealed after spilling nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the gulf.

BP declined to comment. But a BP internal slide presentation said the new oil sheen probably came from the riser, a long piece of pipe that had connected the drilling rig to the well a mile below the sea surface.

The presentation said that “the size and persistence of this slick, the persistent location of the oil slick origin point, the chemistry of the samples taken from the slick … suggest that the likely source of the slick is a leak of Macondo … oil mixed with drilling mud that had been trapped in the riser of the Deepwater Horizon rig.”

It’s hard to feel confident that we will ever really understand the true impact of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

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