NEW 4-Mile Long Oil Slick Near BP's Gulf Oil Well

George Washington's picture

CNN reports:

An oil sheen about four miles long has appeared in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a Coast Guard spokesman said Thursday.


It was not immediately clear where the oil is coming from, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Tippets. [Although previous oil has been matched as a "dead ringer" to the BP well.]


Coast Guardsmen went to the location after seeing the oil on a satellite image, Tippets said. The response team collected samples and sent them to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab in Connecticut for testing.




The sheen is near the spot where, on April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded over the Macondo well, killing 11 workers and spewing oil that spread across a huge portion of the Gulf.

(And see this.)

As we’ve noted for years, BP’s Macondo oil well is still leaking … and will leak for years.

For example, we noted in March:

In June of 2010, BP officials admitted to damage beneath the seafloor under BP’s Gulf Macondo well.


Numerous scientists have speculated that the blowout and subsequent clumsy attempts by BP to plug the well could have created new seeps, and made pre-existing natural seeps bigger.




Washington’s Blog interviewed one of the world’s leading experts on oil leaks in 2010, Robert Bea. Dr. Bea noted that we may never be able to fully stop BP’s oil leak:

Few people in the world know more about oil drilling disasters than Dr. Robert Bea.


Bea teaches engineering at the University of California Berkeley, and has 55 years of experience in engineering and management of design, construction, maintenance, operation, and decommissioning of engineered systems including offshore platforms, pipelines and floating facilities. Bea has worked for many years in governmental and quasi-governmental roles, and has been a high-level governmental adviser concerning disasters. He worked for 16 years as a top mechanical engineer and manager for Shell Oil, and has worked with Bechtel and the Army Corps of Engineers. One of the world’s top experts in offshore drilling problems, Bea is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, and has been interviewed by news media around the world concerning the BP oil disaster.




WB: Is it possible that this fractured, subsea salt geology will make it difficult to permanently kill the oil leak using relief wells?


Bea: Yes, it could. The Santa Barbara channel seeps are still leaking, decades after the oil well was supposedly capped. This well could keep leaking for years.


Scripps mapped out seafloor seeps in the area of the well prior to the blowout. Some of the natural seeps penetrate 10,000 to 15,000 feet beneath the seafloor. The oil will follow lines of weakness in the geology. The leak can travel several horizontal miles from the location of the leak.


[In other words, the geology beneath the seafloor is so fractured, with soft and unstable salt formations, that we may never be able to fully kill the well even with relief wells. Instead, the loss of containment of the oil reservoir caused by the drilling accident could cause oil to leak out through seeps for years to come. See this and this for further background].




WB: I have heard that BP is underestimating the size of the oil reservoir (and see this). Is it possible that the reservoir is bigger than BP is estimating, and so – if not completely killed – the leak could therefore go on for longer than most assume?


Bea: That’s plausible.


WB: The chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon said that the Macondo well was originally drilled in another location, but that “going faster caused the bottom of the well to split open, swallowing tools”, and that BP abandoned that well. You’ve spoken to that technician and looked into the incident, and concluded that “they damn near blew up the rig.” [See this and this].


Do you know where that abandoned well location is, and do you know if that well is still leaking?


Bea: The abandoned well is very close to the current well location. BP had to file reports showing the location of the abandoned well and the new well [with the Minerals Management Service], so the location of the abandoned well is known.


We don’t know if the abandoned well is leaking.


WB: Matthew Simmons talked about a second leaking well. There are rumors on the Internet that the original well is still leaking. Do you have any information that can either disprove or confirm that allegation?


Bea: There are two uncorroborated reports. One is that there is a leak 400 feet West of the present well’s surface location. There is another report that there is a leak several miles to the West.


[Bea does not know whether either report is true at this time, because BP is not sharing information with the government, let alone the public.]

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q99x2's picture

It is just a pressure transfer from the recent earthquakes that's about to pop the reserve like a zit. Only problem is that it may be as large as the state of Texas.

What I don't like is gasoline at $5 a gallon here in SoCal. The price of gas has been a very reliable indicator of coming financial collapses. Massive amounts of money is being siphoned out of the economy into the banksters and oil companies at this time.

Augustus's picture

That is pure nonsense.

Can you cite any oil resevoir which has "popped like a zit" as a result of an earthquake?  Of course not.


hockeypuck777's picture

Gasoline in downtown Washington DC has reached $5.00 a gallon.  $4.50 in the suburbs


TSA gropee's picture

Love the analog. +1  =)

monogratis's picture

Many people still think low oil prices = low gasoline prices.  The problem is that foreign countries are buying up the cheap crude off the market and they are also buying up the refined petroleum products.  The US is not the be-all end-all of crude oil consumption anymore.  Combined with central banks engaging in extremely loose monetary policy, it should be no surprise that gasoline prices will continue to be high.  

On top of that, California has fuel standards that are ridiculous (such as ethanol blending) and as a result cheap gasoline from other places cannot be sold in the California market without being reblended first.  

I personally barely drive and I could care less about all the morons driving Escalades up and down I-5 all day.

The price of gasoline is still cheap at $5.00/gallon and used cars are very inexpensive, so its' only a matter of consumers using their brains to solve this problem.

hardcleareye's picture

Here is the link to the to the NOAA Incident News regarding this event.

Note on September 17 NOAA said "...BP is sending a vessel to the area with an ROV to investigate the potential source."  It would seem that by this time (some two weeks) they would have some info on were this leak was coming from.

It is interesting to note that for a  period of time Incident report 8510 disappeared from the NOAA site and this is what you saw when you tried to access it

"Incident #8510 does not exist, has been deleted, or you do not have permission to view it."

But it is back now.........

NOAA goes on to say that this incident is similar to one that occured in Aug 2011, "...

"In Aug. 2011, TransOcean searched the Macondo well cap and rig wreckage with an ROV and found no evidence of a leak. The USCG provided oversight of the entire operation and concurred with the findings. The source(s) of the sheens in 2011 was/were not identified."
palmereldritch's picture

Can't wait to hear the Leak Oil Theory


                             EDIT: I spoke too early

Augustus's picture

Geo Wash,

Why do you keep comming back to this well blowout to show your ignorance?  The well did not penetrrate the salt zones which are much deeper.  Your Sigsby Salt eating has destroyed your mind.

A well kick while drilling could be described as a temporary loss of control.  That is when the BOP is used to re-obtain control.  After control is re-establihed with the drilling mud, they can set and cement pipe of possibly just continue to drill deeper.

The whole batch of nonsense concerning multiple wells was debunked thoroughly at the time.  The Matt Simmons claims were preposterous and were evidently deranged babble.

Wern't you the one who predicted a split in the earth that would cause the GoM to eventually reach north to Columbus, Ohio?  And then predicted that the July 4th fireworks would cause explosions that would destroy towns near the GoM? 

Resurecting these links from Before It Is News is evidently your latest attempt to distribute conspiracy theories.

Notarocketscientist's picture

yes... it's so fucking 'mysterious'  maybe sherlock should investigate?


Get fucking real CNN - it's not mysterious - the BP well is still leaking!!!!

Augustus's picture

The BK Lim site has drawings of a Fairy Tale.

No different from the illustrations used in a nice version of Repunzel, the girl with the golden hair.

Geo Wash may then take those illustrations as "proof" that the girl could actually spin hair into gold.

Geo Wash was one of those who claimed that the wellhead was burning, under water with no oxygen, and at depth of 15,000 ft BML.  It took him over a week to figure out he had been scammed on that one.

Augustus's picture

The BK Lim site has drawings of a Fairy Tale.

No different from the illustrations used in a nice version of Repunzel, the girl with the golden hair.

Geo Wash may then take those illustrations as "proof" that the girl could actually spin hair into gold.

Geo Wash was one of those who claimed that the wellhead was burning, under water with no oxygen, and at depth of 15,000 ft BML.  It took him over a week to figure out he had been scammed on that one.

Seize Mars's picture


Absolutely fascinating.


hardcleareye's picture

"    There is no salt near the seafloor at the location (cf. seismic posted on the house commerce committee website), - the Macondo structure is a low relief anticline, possibly cored by deep autochthonous salt or possibly a turtle structure


However, there has been some discussion on the exact "location" of the well with respect to salt domes, and other hazards.  BP has not been forth coming with that geological information (if you have a link to it please share)....  this is an interesting site that explains the concern, if it is indeed located near a salt dome.

booboo's picture

as everyone happily motors down the black top road cursing the black ooze from hell, yelling at their plastic TV, and relaxing to a world made of plastic. Risk is embedded in every endevour worth taking. Your mistake is believing the government that extracts the wealth from the private sector will actually perform it's claimed (and monopolized) duty of oversight. The kicker is everytime they tell you this you suckers believe them and pony up like kids at a carnival freak show. Barmun was right. 

If you think this is bad wait until tankers are being sunk by the dozens in an all out energy war, you pussies will be leaping from your mothers roof top to end it all. So what is it? you want cheap oil on demand or you want to live like Spartans? No you want to bitch on demand, one minute you are yapping about how high the gas is and the conspiracy involved in that and the other you are swearing that NK subs did Horizon in and the guy that is spilling the beans is being chased all over hiding from government killers with...wait for it...machettes, yea the same government you think is out there keeping big oil from screwing you? God damn, I don't know what they put on the tv in the 90's that fucked you kids up but I hope your at least your momma got some rest while you were drooling down your chins watching Power Rangers. You buckos better suck it up cause they gonna eat you on them mean streets down the road. 

Notarocketscientist's picture

I just wanna dance...


But you are right - hypocrites rule!  

Many don't like it when we kill thousands of innocent people over oil.  They don't like that we destroy the environment over oil.

Yet they LOVE their big ol SUVS!!!   

Just back from two weeks in Italy.... no SUVs there.   Stick a tax that doubles the price of gas out there and that puts an end to these retards who try to play the big man by driving the big truck.

But that ain't gonna happen in Uhmerica.  No way.  Ahmericans want to play the big tough man driving their hogs around... while they whine about unfunded wars and water that lights on fire as it comes out of the tap.

What a pathetic country

Bringin It's picture

Spartan living?  How about Gauguin?

Move beyond your fossil fuel dependance.

booboo's picture

"Move beyond your fossil fuel dependance"

typing that on a wooden keyboard are ya?

Bringin It's picture

I'm prepared to drop it anytime. 

Consume less and it will last longer.

To me, it's a kind of curse.

Go Tribe's picture

Can't we just drill around it?

“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”-ThomasJefferson's picture

Send a few hundred crack TSA agents out there pronto.

New_Meat's picture

whole seabed leaks like a seive.  Don't cha' know.

- Ned

Bastiat's picture

Yep.  Nothing quite creating a link between a leaky weak near surface layer and an extremely deep high pressure source, then capping it eh?  Kinda like placing a sponge over a shook up bottle of champagne -- works for a while . . . 

That was the essential point of BK Lim's analysis.

CoolBeans's picture

No offense George, but I think you rang an alarm earlier than couldn't be sustantiated.  I don't trust gooberint officials or anything but one must be cautious when slinging this sort of news around.  A few days ago we had some wild waves here and prior to that 7 people in this area alone have been rescued from boating incidents.  Not to make excuses without all of the details yet but often times these things are the result of isolated incidents.  As a Gulf resident, we are all very sensitive to such issues.  I located this today -

Coast Guard officials said they also are monitoring a 3-mile by 1-mile "barely discernible silvery sheen" emanating from an Apache Corp. platform about 15 miles south of Grand Isle.

A report filed with the Coast Guard National Response Center by Apache officials on Tuesday said 7 gallons of oil were released into the Gulf because of equipment failure. A separate report filed with the center by an anonymous caller referred to the release as a "massive oil sheen."

Wolfe said according to the company, the equipment has been secured and the oil in the water is not recoverable. He added that the Coast Guard has referred the case to the EPA, and there is no chance of the oil reaching land.

omniversling's picture

This is a must see for the info on:

1/ pressurising reserviors by injecting (at the end of the drilling stage) genetically engineered microbes/bacteria that create carbondioxide as a waste product, which makes the reserve like a soda bottle to get the oil out under 'false' pressure. Too bad if the formula is too 'racy', and the thing pops it's cork…or blowout protector.

2/ Remidiating agents constructed from 'blank canvas' proteins and synthetic amino acids, which are seeded with some natural and some GE dna to 'turbo charge' natural process. Think Corexit with enzymes, microbes, bacteria…who knows cos it's secret herbs and spices formula is commercially protected. But what happened when it got loose, and decided that the spilled oil was not enough, and the oil in fish skin and human flesh would do nicely thankyou…

Like FukUpShima, it cant be 'put back in the bottle'. How many more of these 'genie escapes' can we manage as a species I wonder…


Best diagrams on salt domes and Macondo well:
Why is BP's Macondo blowout so disastrous & Beyond Patch-up.


Also, (h/t cgrl) "A shocking report from Russian Northern Fleet scientists aboard the Gepard Akula II, which just completed its maiden voyage off the United States coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, warns the aftereffects from the 20 April 2010 BP Oil Spill Disaster are “beyond catastrophic” and borders on the “truly apocalyptic.”

The Gepard Akula II nuclear-powered submarine [photo 3rd left] is the most advanced stealth underwater vessel ever built and began its sea trials last month in the Gulf of Mexico where it went undetected by US Naval Forces for weeks until it had left the region and resurfaced in the Atlantic Ocean much to the embarrassment of the Americans….."


"The oil NEVER ever stopped through fissures around the site. this has been reported by fishermen/pilots/activists/locals since the explosion>supposed "capping" so ho-hum for mainstream media or a gov. agency to finally acknowledge it.

Corexit has not stopped either. gulf = black hole of death. & don't be fooled, Coast Guard, NOAA, EPA ALL in cahoots since the beginning re: continued leak, allowing Corexit aerial/coastal/underwater spraying instead of known less toxic alternatives, lack of proper seafood testing (beyond hired locals smelling the food!), etc. Watch The Big Fix.

Highly recommend: The Gulf of Mexico is Dying; A Special Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill

READ: BP Gulf Oil Spill Info Blackout & Data Lockdown "The official response to the BP Gulf Oil Spill has been controlled like no other response in American history to an environmental catastrophe. The US Government, to include the EPA, NOAA, Energy, Interior, the White House, has colluded with BP et al. to keep the lid on what has really been taking place in our waters, on our beaches and with our seafood. The information blackout, and especially the choking off of vital data and research studies have occurred through the following deliberate process" http://phoenixrisingfromthegulf


El Hosel's picture

......... 7 Gallons!  Yeah, thats the ticket. Nothing to see here.

 BP and other "Officials" reported the original blowout as a small leak too.

Stoploss's picture

Really??  NOAA has/had posted on their site, the satellite image of the oil slick. So, a little more than 7 gallons.

It was discovered by the fishermen first, of course, that was hushed up.

There is no shutting up a satellite image though, and that is what drew attention to it. You cant miss it.

Or, maybe only you can..


tony bonn's picture

i have continued my boycott of bp - a murderous, criminal, corrupt den of thieves....

Miss Expectations's picture

So many things that can't be fixed.  Bayou Corne may blow up, too.  Eyes open.

George Washington's picture

How many people live near Bayou Corne?

Miss Expectations's picture


Video: 8/11/2012 -- Louisiana Sink Hole Explained -- POSSIBLE HUGE CATASTROPHE -- 100 Hiroshimas

“The disaster is made all the more worrisome because the hole is believed to be close to a well containing 1.5 million barrels of liquid butane, a highly volatile liquid that turns into a highly flammable vapor upon release,” CNN reported Friday about Louisiana's declared State of Emergency.

Earlier it was reported the butane-filled well is only 1500 feet from the sinkhole and it will not be emptied.

A breach of that well, Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said, could be "catastrophic,” CNN reports.

If ignited, the butane well would release as much explosive energy as 100 Hiroshima bombs, Deborah Dupré's scientist sources told her Sunday.


Here's another video of an older sinkhole disaster "Lake Peigneur sinkhole disaster"

knukles's picture

'Nuff done went n got it a name.
laissez les bontemps roulez

zhandax's picture

First I have heard of Bayou Corne, so I checked it out.  It appears, one way or the other, one of the central players is Texas Brine, LLC.  To address the discussion up-thread, and I preface this with the statement that I find many Libertarian tenets appealing although I am not sure I would call myself one at this point; any time you allow a legal construct to avoid liability, you will you create the dilemma discussed up-thread.  In order for whatever arises to replace the shambles of this corrupted republic to succeed, it must not allow limitation of liability in business affairs.  The potential for loss of personal gain for stakeholders of enterprises should curb the abuses of even the psychopathic, and the reality, in a court of common law (not the 14th amendment attorney's wet dream we have now), will accomodate the remainder.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Can't we inject the Fukushima nuclear wastes down that hole and solve two problems at once?


Bastiat's picture

Might run into some pushback on that - the multi thousand psi kind.

Bastiat's picture

Remember the oil geologist who had the detailed analysis of how catastrophic this could be.  Basically how the actions taken could cause a broad, general and unstoppable fracturing of the sea floor in that area . . . BK Lim I think it was.  Haven't heard from him in a long time--hot tub accident?

........ here we go:


Buck Johnson's picture

They are trying to hush up a situation that could destroy most of the life in the ocean.  And then add to it Fukishima and we may be a gone civilization in the future.

Bastiat's picture

Oh god, I was half kidding but jeezus, nothing so discrete as a hot tub:

A BP Gulf Oil Spill Hero Becomes The Subject Of Assassination Attempts

I cannot reveal details yet. I am currently a fugitive constantly moving from country to country since I cannot return to my known residences and be with my family. They have tried shooting, armed assaults, staged burglaries, car chases, tailgating, stalking and 24/7 surveillance of our residences. Have no choice but to travel alone to distance the threats from my family. It is a miracle (or divine intervention) that I have escaped death on so many occasions. The most serious was an attack in front of our house by 4 “personnel” who were armed with 2ft long machetes. Miraculously, I recovered from 4 & 6 inch cuts on the crown of my head, cuts from neck down to shoulder and upper arm, abdominal thrusts to the vital organs etc. Have since recovered only by the grace of God.  -- BK LIM

Cameli's picture

This is nothing to do with his drug running business of course.

Bastiat's picture

Evidence or just slander?

Cameli's picture

Sarcasm. To imply that somebody is trying to kill this guy because of any comments he may have made about oil leaks (which are not uncommon) is nuts.

Bastiat's picture

"comments about oil leaks"  . . "not uncommon"  . .. right.

George Washington's picture

Self-described “petroleum industry
geohazards engineer” BK Lim has picked up the conspiracy theory mantle
from Simmons, claiming there were three leaking wells. We haven’t read Lim’s statements, and so offer no comment on his credibility.

Stoploss's picture

First, Thank you for keeping this story alive. Very many people appreciate your efforts, and most no nothing of this blog.

Here's the deal, since im pretty sick of the endless bullshit that goes with this as evidenced above.

Macondo field is the largest ST oil field ever discovered in history. Was a very, very long time coming. I remember well the seismic companies salivating over this find. However, this field also was deeper and due to the ultra high complexity of known and unknown rock formations, it was not expected to be a cake walk. Some how someone needs to get their hands on the test well(s) data. (there are many of them). I fully expect that will never happen, but, that is where the answer lies. Good luck with that. ( High, high, high pressure )!

Any one that's ever been around industry that uses oil knows oil does not compress right? That's why it is used as a liquid "bearing" of sorts in your car engine. Yes, a viscous fluid can keep two pieces of rotating metal apart with a gap of <.080     When a well is drilled and oil is extracted, it has to be replaced with something equally non compressible, or the open gap under ground would collapse into the empty void, once occupied by non compressible hydro carbons right??  Enter drilling mud. They pump this in the well at the opposite side to push out the hydro carbons, while at the same time, filling the void with non compressible drilling mud. Once all hydro carbons are extracted, the mud filled well is capped off at both ends, and move to the next find.

Well, guess what, turns out the pressure was higher than properly calculable, which resulted in a (generally) typical blowout. Ummm, nothing was ever typical about Macondo.

So. Now you have many many open seeps due to the fracturing of the unknown rock formations above the field, as a direct result of excessively high drilling pressure IMHO, of course.  Want to guess what is happening?  The GOM sea floor is collapsing into the Macondo field as the oil self evacuates through any path it finds. Could be hundreds of miles from the well site, but the same oil from the same field.

The Bayou Come' salt dome rests on the outer edge of the MF, this is simply the seismic after effect of a collapsed well, it happens all the time on dry land, but it's not an issue since land fields are far shallower the DW wells.

What we are witnessing is Louisiana's south eastern part of the state including the Mississippi basin, is sliding into the GOM as a result of the field collapse.

When some body takes a bath and let's the water out, the soap ring stays high on the side of the tub, no?   But, if you add water at the same rate or a little less than the drain rate, the soap ring doesn't move much now does it?


The real catastrophe has not occurred yet, it will come none the less. The field protrudes northward, under LA. and eastward.

Bastiat's picture

I read just about everthing he wrote at the time and NEVER read any convincing refutation.  I found his work detailed and convincing. 

Bastiat's picture
Admission of 22" casing blew up at well A, could only mean BP drilled 3 wells Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:11 AM EDT

Still at it. Good.