Gulf Oil Spill Bigger than Reported

Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 02:10 PM gHale


An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, first reported by the Coast Guard over a week ago is now believed to be at least two times bigger than the original estimate.

The oil company, LLOG, initially said a crack in a pipeline sent about 340,000 gallons of oil (between 7,000 and 9,000 barrels) into the Gulf about 40 miles southeast of Venice, Coast Guard officials said.

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In a Coast Guard update, LLOG is now reporting the estimated amount of discharged oil “may be approximately 672,000 gallons” (16,000 barrels).

A spokesman for the Coast Guard could not give a reason for the discrepancy, but did say the pipeline appears to be secured and is no longer believed to be leaking.

The Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) are coordinating the response to the spill with LLOG, and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “to locate and respond to any oil that reaches the surface.”

According to the Coast Guard, the pipeline is 5,000 feet underwater, a depth so great the oil is likely to be “broken down into small particles and disperse(d) into deep-water currents prior to reaching the surface.”

The Coast Guard said “multiple daily flights” over the area, along with underwater inspections, have not detected any recoverable oil. However, the Coast Guard said skimming vessels from Clean Gulf Associates and the Marine Spill Response Corporation “remain on standby.”

If the estimate of 16,000 barrels of oil spilled is correct, it would be the largest spill in the Gulf since the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010 – which gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf for weeks.

“While the reported discharge amount is very significant,” said Cmdr. Heather Mattern from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Morgan City. “We are confident in the calculations completed by the LLOG and NOAA scientists.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation.



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