BP is conducting a series of little-known deep-sea missions under Coast Guard supervision in an effort to find the source of new oil emerging from the Deepwater Horizon well site, according to a CBS report.
The oil giant first reported the appearance of a fresh oil slick in the vicinity of its blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico on September 16, 2012. Tests of oil taken from the new spill confirmed it was chemically identical to the crude that had blasted out of the out-of-control well for weeks in 2010.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the largest environmental disaster to hit the U.S. The ruptured Macondo well, sitting about a mile beneath the surface, released more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf before it was successfully contained on July 15, 2010.
Now questions about the well’s integrity are arising. BP announced on September 19, 2010 that it had successfully and permanently plugged the Macondo well shaft, yet oil continues to appear in that vicinity of the Gulf. BP has said that the source of the new oil slicks is likely the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon and its riser pipe, which contain trapped oil.
However, according to CBS, a remote vehicle deployed to the well site by BP showed oil escaping from the containment dome placed over the wellhead. After a remote operation, BP said on October 23 that the leaks had been sealed. No effort was taken to clean up the fresh oil slick, which authorities claimed posed no serious environmental threat, but a number of other slicks of various sizes and shapes have appeared since BP’s October announcement.
Rep. Ed Markey, a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts who helped lead the investigation of BP after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, says that the oil giant is not cooperating with requests from Congress to turn over video evidence and other information.
“Back in 2010, I said BP was either lying or incompetent. Well, it turns out they were both,” CBS quoted Mr. Markey as saying. “This is the same crime scene, and the American public today is entitled to the same information that BP was lying about in 2010 so that we can understand the full dimension of the additional environmental damage.”
BP said last month that it would plead guilty to more than a dozen felonies related to the 2010 oil spill, including lying to Congress about how much oil was gushing from its well. The company agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle those criminal charges.