Oceanographer Warns That BP Oil Disaster Created a New Fault Which Could “Release Oil Indefinitely”

Intel Hub
by JG Vibes

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t been in the news much over the past year, but the clean up is far from over and many have warned that the problem was never really resolved.

Just recently, an oceanographer appeared on multiple mainstream media outlets to warn of the possibility that the BP oil disaster opened up a new fault, and could be leaking oil into the ocean indefinitely.

NBC reported that:

“A persistent, mysterious “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico near the site of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster grew to more than seven-miles long and one-mile wide during a recent stretch of calm seas, based on aerial observations made by a former NASA physicist turned environmental activist.”

“We had maybe three or four days (of calm weather) and that’s all it took for the stuff to build up considerably,” Bonny Schumaker, the physicist who now runs the non-profit On Wings of Care, which makes regular flights over regions of the Gulf affected by the 2010 oil spill.

In a flight report from Jan. 27 posted on the group’s website, she described the oily expanse as “huge.”

Schumaker first noticed the sheen in September 2012, when it was also reported by BP to the National Response Center, the point of contact for all oil spills and other discharges into the environment.

Since then, BP has inspected the well site four times with underwater robots and found it secure.

However, since BP has been in charge of their own investigation it is very possible that they are taking measures to cover up the situation and make it appear to be less of a problem.

Later in the article the source of this oil sheen is discussed, and the possible implications are revealed:

“Schumaker first noticed the sheen in September 2012, when it was also reported by BP to the National Response Center, the point of contact for all oil spills and other discharges into the environment.

Since then, BP has inspected the well site four times with underwater robots and found it secure.

The concern, he noted, is trying to sort out its source. “The chemical data are a bit ambiguous.”

Some analyses he’s seen suggest the presence of drilling fluid, which is consistent with what Schumaker has heard. But other analyses, from other sources that he said he’s privy to, find no drilling fluid.

In that case, it’s possible that the wreckage in 2010 somehow opened up a new fault on the seafloor.

That possibility is inconsistent with BP’s findings, but would nevertheless indicate potential for an indefinite release of oil.”

It is no surprise that this possibility conflicts with BP’s findings, and it is important to mention that so far BP’s findings and predictions have been far from trustworthy.
At this time though, there have been few other realistic explanations put forward as to why these new slicks are continuing to materialize.

Raw Story

While oil spills can cause severe environmental damage to the organisms living in the affected waters, the consequences of using oil dispersants to rectify the spill can make the situation even worse, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Pollution, reported NBCNews.com.

The study found that the mixture of oil and dispersant can create a mixture 52 times more toxic than the oil itself.

“There is a synergistic interaction between crude oil and the dispersant that makes it more toxic,” said study co-author and Georgia Tech biologist Terry Snell.

The researchers studied the effect on plankton of oil from the same well that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill mixed with the same dispersant used to clean it up. The potential impact of the toxins can reach all the way to whales through the food chain.

Because the dispersants decrease the size of the oil droplets, it becomes more “bio-available” to organisms living in the water.

A 2010 EPA study did not find that the combination of oil and dispersant was any more toxic than the oil itself, but other studies have also found harmful effects of the mixture on water life.

BP’s Corexit Oil Tar Sponged Up by Human Skin

Mother Jones

The Surfrider Foundation has released its preliminary “State of the Beach” study for the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s ongoing Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Sadly, things aren’t getting cleaner faster, according to their results. The Corexit that BP used to “disperse” the oil now appears to be making it tougher for microbes to digest the oil. I wrote about this problem in depth in “The BP Cover-Up.”

The persistence of Corexit mixed with crude oil has now weathered to tar, yet is traceable to BP’s Deepwater Horizon brew through its chemical fingerprint. The mix creates a fluorescent signature visible under UV light. From the report:

The program uses newly developed UV light equipment to detect tar product and reveal where it is buried in many beach areas and also where it still remains on the surface in the shoreline plunge step area. The tar product samples are then analyzed…to determine which toxins may be present and at what concentrations. By returning to locations several times over the past year and analyzing samples, we’ve been able to determine that PAH concentrations in most locations are not degrading as hoped for and expected.

Worse, the toxins in this unholy mix of Corexit and crude actually penetrate wet skin faster than dry skin (photos above)—the author describes it as the equivalent of a built-in accelerant—though you’d never know it unless you happened to look under fluorescent light in the 370nm spectrum. The stuff can’t be wiped off. It’s absorbed into the skin.

And it isn’t going away. Other findings from monitoring sites between Waveland, Mississippi, and Cape San Blas, Florida over the past two years:

The use of Corexit is inhibiting the microbial degradation of hydrocarbons in the crude oil and has enabled concentrations of the organic pollutants known as PAH to stay above levels considered carcinogenic by the NIH and OSHA.

26 of 32 sampling sites in Florida and Alabama had PAH concentrations exceeding safe limits.
Only three locations were found free of PAH contamination.
Carcinogenic PAH compounds from the toxic tar are concentrating in surface layers of the beach and from there leaching into lower layers of beach sediment. This could potentially lead to contamination of groundwater sources.
The full Surfrider Foundation report by James H. “Rip” Kirby III, of the University of South Florida is open-access online here.

News Release : First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate

Source: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Jan. 27, 2010

To combat last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as scientists begin to assess how well the strategy worked at breaking up oil droplets, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chemist Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and her colleagues report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied.

“We don’t know if the dispersant broke up the oil,” she added. “We found that it didn’t go away, and that was somewhat surprising.”

Full story