BP Oil in the Gulf — Part Two?


Scientists have confirmed that an oil sheen spotted near the site of Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico matches the crude that spewed last year from BP’s damaged well. In other words, the oil is back. And BPis back doing damage control.

The intrepid staff over at the Alabama Press-Register collected samples of the oil about a mile from the sealed well site earlier this week. The samples were turned over to chemists at Lousiana State University who had done much of the work used by the feds to fingerprint the oil known as MC252 that came from BP’s damaged Macondo well, the Press-Register reported. Here’s what one of the scientists, Ed Overton, wrote to the paper via email:

After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good as a match I’ve seen. My guess is that it is probably from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform … However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.

BP, meanwhile, has yet to own up to it even after the paper sent the oil company the results. BP officials wrote in an emailed statement that it had a vessel stationed at the site and never saw any oil. It added, “there is still no evidence that the oil came from the Macondo well.”

BP has a history of trying to turn oil-soaked lemons into something else in hopes of avoiding expensive consequences. It used Photoshop to doctor up images of its response to the 2010 oil spill in an effort to appear more impressive; and it resisted early attempts to measure the size of the spill. So, it will be interesting to see how BP handles this challenge.

To be clear, this is nowhere near the same amount of oil that gushed out of BP’s damaged well last year. Here’s what the reporters saw as they floated in a boat near the well site.

Press-Register reporters watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into iridescent yellow patches. Those patches quickly expanded into rainbow sheens four to five feet across.

Each expanding bloom released a pronounced and pungent petroleum smell. Most of the oil was located in a patch about 50 yards wide and a quarter of a mile long.

Experts have suggested that it could be a natural seep or that oil trapped in the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon rig has made its way to the surface. The fear is that this is a leak in the cement plug used to seal the well. Stay tuned. ORIGINAL STORY