Friday, November 16, 2012

Fatal Explosion and Fire on Platform in Gulf of Mexico

An explosion and fire has claimed the lives of at least 2 workers on a platform operated by Black Elk Energy about 10 miles off the Louisiana coast. This is in Block 32 of the West Delta lease area. The water depth is about 60 feet. The fire has been extinguished. Two other workers are reported missing, and four have been airlifted to the hospital. No oil spill has been reported.  Black Elk says 28 workers were on the platform, but it was not producing any oil. [Read more...]


Monday, November 12, 2012

Small (But Common?) Oil Leak in East Bay off Mississippi Delta

Bonny Schumaker, tireless pilot and Gulf pollution watchdog, flew out over East Bay on Saturday (yes, she also flew the notorious Taylor Energy chronic leak site just the day before).  Sure enough, she spotted a leak from one of the platforms in East Bay.  Here's her video, and a few pics of the leak.  Aside from Bonny's report, this particular incident apparently hasn't been reported to the NRC as required by law.

Oily leak in East Bay on November 10, 2012. Photo courtesy Bonny Schumaker.
 [Read more with pics and video]

[[Location:  28.998579,-89.281001]]

Site 23051 - Leaking Oil Into the Gulf Since 2004

We've reported on this site several times since 2010, when we discovered a chronic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico where a platform operated by Taylor Energy was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

Back in 2010 there was a deepwater drill rig, the Ocean Saratoga, at the site for a while, working to plug the leaking wells. But the rig departed long ago for work elsewhere, and we haven't seen any sign of repair activity there since. Nevertheless, the company reports the continuing leak on a near-daily basis to the National Response Center, and we continue to see the slick on satellite images and during aerial overflights. 

Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care flew over the Taylor Energy site on Friday (November 9). Scroll down in her blog post to see video and pics of the Taylor oil slick. 

To see more info and pics on this chronic pollution source, check out SkyTruth's site chronology and report.

[[Location: 28.938022, -88.970963]]

Monday, November 5, 2012

Post-Sandy Oil Spill at Motiva Enterprises Oil Teminal, New Jersey

Crews are still working to clean up a major oil spill from the Motiva Enterprises Sewaren Terminal along the Arthur Kill River in New Jersey. An estimated 277,000 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled from storage tanks damaged by Hurricane Sandy at this facility co-owned by Shell. Some of this oil escaped into a tributary to the Arthur Kill River that separates New Jersey from Staten Island. 

NOAA aerial survey photography taken after the spill gives us a very useful tool for analyzing storm damage, by comparing with pre-spill high-resolution imagery in Google Earth.  We've shown some of the severe structural damage and beach erosion revealed by these photos.  Now we'll take a look at oil pollution:  NOAA air photos shot on November 2 and November 3 show many oil slicks on the Arthur Kill, near marinas and industrial facilities. Some of the slicks are probably from the Motiva spill. We were able to identify two storage tanks on the aerial imagery that were moved off their foundations and partially crumpled. These may be the source of the spill. [READ MORE]

NOAA aerial imagery showing oil slick at mouth of tributary to the Arthur Kill.