Why Is a Spill That Started in 2004 Still Leaking Oil in the Gulf of Mexico?

阳光照亮了2010年5月在密西西比三角洲的挥之不去的石油。这是着名的深水地平线漏油,但还有另一个你可能不知道。NASA / GSFC,MODIS Rapid Response / Wikimedia Commons

Oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez are embedded in the environmental consciousness, so much so that they're essentially shorthand for any other spills that occur.

But there are spills that don't get as much attention — and maybe they should. For instance, the Taylor oil spill has been quietly leaking what could be millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico since 2004, six years before the Deepwater Horizon spill.


While the Taylor Energy Company has estimated the site is leaking three to five gallons of oil per day, for example, a2019年6月研究由美国国家海洋和大气管理局(NOAA)结束,每天实际泄漏378至4,536加仑。这显着高于公司的估计,但它也低于其他最近发现的调查。


卫星视图显示2014年9月15日飓风Ivan,在阿拉巴马州海岸线以南约170英里。 NASA / GSFC,MODIS Rapid Response / Wikimedia Commons

泰勒净泄漏在飓风Ivan之后始于2004年。一个石油平台,密西西比峡谷 - 20和管道属于泰勒能量在2004年9月15日遭受飓风引起的泥土损坏和沉没。根据泰勒能源官员准备的一篇论文的结构described in a 2013 NOLA.com article”,随后几乎躺在一个小时izontal orientation and almost entirely buried in sediment up to 100 feet deep, approximately 900 feet from its original location and in approximately 440 feet of water."

The oil leak, located about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast and 7 miles north of the Deepwater Horizon site, went relatively unnoticed by news outlets. Taylor Energy reported it at the time to the Coast Guard's National Response Center (NRC), as required by the Oil Pollution Act, but neither Taylor or the NRC raised public awareness,根据华盛顿邮报。该公司致力于将泄漏泄漏出于国家聚光灯,根据2015年的法律解决方案,引用了对其商业惯例的声誉和专有信息的困难。如果没有深水地平线溢出,泰勒溢出可能已经没有被忽视了更长时间。

一种shadow of another slick

一种boat sails through an oil slick caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill. If not for that spill, the Taylor spill may not have been brought to public attention. KrisKrüg/ Wikimedia Commons


"They said it couldn't have been coming from the BP spill, and sure enough, it wasn't," Marylee Orr, the executive director of theLouisiana Environmental Action Network(LEAN),告诉CNN.。“它来自泰勒很好。”

然而,对于精益,Apalachicola Riverkeer和其他路易斯安那州环境团体等组织来说,需要时间来获得答案。2012年,瘦肉和其他人起诉泰勒能源,开始了一个三年的诉讼程序,在上述2015年结算中持续了高潮。除了详细说明平台的状态外,泰勒能源还声称,该网站附近的光泽是“残余”,“没有证据表明”存在持续泄漏的存在。

Just how much oil has been leaked?

map of Taylor Energy oil spill off Louisiana coast
泰勒泄漏的遗址约为路易斯安那州海岸大约12英里。 NOAA

泰勒泄漏的遗址约为路易斯安那州海岸大约12英里。(地图:Noaa / Google)

Since disclosing the leak to the National Response Center, Taylor maintained the stance that the leak was minor. Surveys conducted by organizations like天空和美国海岸警卫队在2015年,美国海岸警卫队的调查反驳了这些索赔,释放了估计,根据GreenPeac,比泰勒能源在法庭申请中报告的约20倍。

The scope of the Taylor spill has proven difficult to quantify. SkyTruth, using data given to the Coast Guard by Taylor Energy, estimates that from 2004 to 2017,between 855,421 and 3,991,963 gallons石油泄漏到海湾。Skytruth的创始人John Amos告诉CNN,这估计几乎肯定太低,因为它依赖于泰勒能量提供的数据。

根据CNN,Deepwater Horizo​​ n Spill估计估计估计17640万加仑(420万桶)。

一种Department of Justice report,2018年9月发布,依靠卫星数据而不是泰勒能源的数字。这份报告建议每天约250至700桶(每天大约10,000到30,000加仑),正在泄漏到海洋中。

该静止图像显示了在2019年2019年研究泰勒溢油泄漏期间由鼓泡计记录的油泡。 NOAA

In a technical report released in June 2019, scientists from NOAA and Florida State University estimated the leakage to be between nine and 108 barrels (378 to 4,536 gallons) of oil per day. The researchers used acoustic technology as well as a new device called a "bubblometer" to calculate the flow rates. They also characterized the composition of the oil and gas discharge, and "conclusively established that active releases from multiple wells at the site, rather than from contaminated sediments, are the primary source of oil and gas entering the marine environment at the site."


Cleaning up the mess


根据华盛顿邮报, Taylor Energy and its contractors were asked to locate the the wells under the mudslide and cap them. If that was not possible, a device needed to be created to contain the leak. Taylor Energy did not drill or bore through the mudslide, however, due to concerns about exacerbating the spill. The company has plugged about a third of the 21 wells and erected a shield of some kind that was supposed to prevent the oil from leaking.

泰勒能源,将所有石油和天然气资产销往韩国国家石油公司和三星C&T;公司于2008年维护一名员工,公司总裁威廉群。peecue有argued the leak is an "act of God under the legal definition."

In May 2019, the Coast Guard reported the oil leak was finally being at least partially contained. Lawyers for the government filed astatus reportstating that a new containment system "is now fully installed and operating as planned." The system is collecting about 1,260 gallons of oil per day, according to NOAA.