BP: ‘No fresh Macondo leaks’
There is currently “no release of oil” from BP’s ill-fated and abandoned Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, the UK supermajor insists.
Eoin O’Cinneide 26 August 2011 09:18 GMT
Neither have leaks been discovered at the relief well near the site of the well in the Gulf of Mexico which suffered a disastrous blowout in April last year, the company said.
BP was pressed into inspecting the well on Thursday after numerous recent reports of oil sheens spotted on the sea surface in close proximity to the well where the Deepwater Horizon exploded last year. In particular the Mobile Press-Register on Wednesday released photographs and video footage of what it claimed were spots of oil, found to be sweet Louisiana crude, near the site.
Last week non-profit watchdog Wings of Care published what it claimed were photographs of spots of oil on the sea surface near the Macondo well, which led to the US Coast Guard (USCG) to conduct an investigation.
BP decided to send a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) down to the abandoned well on Thursday to investigate the situation, and stated on Friday that the results came up clean.
“On [Thursday], BP confirmed through a standard visual wellhead inspection that there is no release of oil from the Macondo well.
“In addition, BP also conducted a visual inspection of the Macondo relief well confirming the same result.”
The company admitted, however, that there were “small, intermittent bubbles…emanating from cement ports at the base of the wellheads”, but argued that “these observations are consistent with testing and sampling performed last year that detected nitrogen bubbles, a residual byproduct of the nitrified foam used in setting the wells’ surface casing cement”.
Thursdays inspections were conducted in the presence of a team from the Gulf Coast Incident Management Team which had representatives from the USCG, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and representatives of state from Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi.
“BP and the US Coast Guard have conducted multiple surveys of the area in recent days and found no evidence of oil sheens in the Macondo vicinity,” the statement continued.
BP pointed out that the well was capped on 15 July last year and permanently killed on 19 September before being later plugged and abandoned.
BP spokesperson, Daren Beaudo, said on Thursday that the company had conducted a flyover on 20 August and “saw no evidence of hydrocarbons within a 20 mile radius”. Scientists doing previously scheduled work this week for a Natural Resource Damage Assessment on a nearby vessel and will sample any sheens that are observed, he added.
“We stand by what we said last week, neither BP nor the Coast Guard has seen any scientific evidence that oil is leaking from the Macondo well which was permanently sealed almost a year ago,” Beaudo wrote in a statement.