Coast Guard To Invesigate Oil Sheen Near BP Spill Site

Nov 30, 2012

The Coast Guard has approved plans to investigate another oil sheen spotted near the site of BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The sheen was initially spotted on Nov. 2 in the same area where a discarded steel container leaking oil had been capped and plugged the week before.

Garret Graves is head of the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Graves said the Coast Guard told coastal parish presidents at a meeting Thursday they wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to do an investigation because the sheen didn’t pose any immediate threat.

"And the amount of people and the amount it was going to take BP and Transocean to go out and do an ROV mission during the holidays just didn’t correspond with the threat that they perceived," said Graves.

Coast Guard Ensign Glenn Sanchez said oil from the sheen has been tested and is from the Macondo well. He stressed, however, that the oil has been trapped on the sea floor for 2 years and is not from a live well.  

Graves said that claim is “absolutely premature”. He said since the blowout there’s be a high frequency of sheening incidents, and for some the source of oil was never found. Graves says it’s feasible that pressure built up from plugging the Macando well could be causing fresh oil to leak.

"The pressure is still there and it could try and find an alternative route to lower pressure," said Graves.
"And so it could exacerbate seeps and other things in the sea floor."

Graves said they won’t know anything for sure until BP and the Coast Guard do an investigation, which was slated to begin Monday. But Glenn Sanchez with the Coast Guard said the investigation has been pushed back to at least Dec. 9 or 10.