Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oil Slicks off Mumbai, India

This morning we saw a brief news report noting that Indian authorities reported a "small" oil spill from an offshore pipeline off the coast of Mumbai.  This pipe carries oil ashore from one of India's largest producing oil fields, the Mumbai (Bombay) High field.  It's not the first time this pipeline has had problems. 

This MODIS/Terra satellite image taken on October 8, 2013 clearly shows oil slicks in the Arabian Sea scattered throughout a 66-mile-long northwest-trending belt ranging about 50 to 100 miles offshore.  We don't know for sure if these slicks are related to the pipeline spill.  We've seen smaller slicks in the area in the  past, from other causes.  But these slicks seem to be generally in the right area to correspond to this recent pipeline problem, and their alignment is compatible with the wind blowing from the northwest.  If anyone can provide an accurate latitude/longitude coordinate for the exact location of the pipeline failure, that would be very helpful.  [READ MORE...]

MODIS/Terra satellite image taken October 8, 2013, showing apparent oil slicks in the Arabian Sea off the west coast of India near Mumbai. Image courtesy NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team.  Analysis by SkyTruth.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Suspected Bilge Dumping off Corsica

Landsat-8 image (inset) showing two parallel slicks off Corsica. Image taken September 2, 2013.
We got a tip early this morning from a friend in France that an oil spill had been reported in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Corsica.  Today's MODIS images showed nothing of interest.  But we did find a brand-new Landsat-8 satellite image that was taken yesterday (September 2), and it shows two parallel slicks that appear to be bilge-dumping incidents. We've really boosted the contrast in the images below, so you can more clearly see the slicks.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gas Blowout at Hercules Drill Rig, Gulf of Mexico

Around midday today a natural gas blowout occurred at a jackup drill rig, the Hercules 265, operating in shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana (South Timbalier Block 220).  All of the workers -- more than 40 -- were safely evacuated.  The rig was enveloped in a cloud of gas, so there is a high risk of fire or explosion until the well is killed.  A small sheen was reported around the platform - this is probably a thin slick of highly volatile natural-gas condensate.  At this time we have no reason to think there is potential for a significant oil spill from this incident.  But, coming hard on the heels of another blowout that happened in the Ship Shoal area last week, it's yet another reminder that drilling is an inherently risky activity. 

Hercules drill rig enveloped by cloud of gas from well blowout, July 23, 2013. Photo by Bonny Schumaker / On Wings of Care flew.  See many more on her blog

Friday, July 19, 2013

Slick in Eugene Island Area, Gulf of Mexico - July 18, 2013

A Landsat-8 image taken yesterday shows a small, unreported slick in the Eugene Island area about 26 kilometers (15 miles) from the Louisiana coast.  About 10 km (6 mi) across, the slick covers about 33 km2.  Using our rule of thumb that, to be visible, a slick must be at least 1 micron thick on average, that amounts to about 8,700 gallons of oil or some oily substance:

Detail from a Landsat-8 satellite image (inset) taken on July 18, 2013, showing a small apparent oil slick (orange outline) in the Eugene Island area off the Louisiana coast.  Oil and gas platforms shown as small red dots. 


Monday, June 24, 2013

UPDATED 6-26-13: Unknown Fluid Spill in Sugar Run, Doddridge County, WV

UPDATE - June 26, 2013: The National Response Center report has finally appeared in the system (OIL: CRUDE IN UNNAMED CREEK NEAR OXFORD, WV 2013-06-24). Clean-up crews have arrived, and eyewitnesses report ~5 tanker trucks of waste have been removed, but absorbent pads and booms still need to be removed and disposed of properly. Doddridge County Watershed Association (DCWA) reports that the leak is from an old tank associated with a conventional oil well drilled in the 1970's, but have not ruled out that nearby unconventional drilling activity could have contributed to the spill.

For photos of the incident and clean-up, visit DCWA's facebook photo album: Sugar Run Spill.

ORIGINAL ALERT: Our friends at the Doddridge County Watershed Association (DCWA) are investigating a spill of unknown material in Sugar Run. While the color is similar to acid mine drainage (AMD), there is a limited legacy of mining in this part of WV and this kind of orange gel has been spilled in the area before (Buckeye Creek - August 2009). DCWA report that the spill is at least 3-4 days old.

The spill has reportedly been called in to the National Response Center (NRC), but we do not have a SkyTruth Alert for it yet:

Contaminant in Sugar Run - from Doddridge County Watershed Association 

See more of their groundtruthing here: Sugar Run Spill

[[Location:39.192139, -80.857778]]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Enbridge Pipeline Spill in Minnesota

[DeSmogBlog -April 24, 2013]

UPDATES COMING PENDING FURTHER INFORMATION. Enbridge's Line 2 **Line 67 tar sands** pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons of crude oil at its pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company's Kalamazoo River tar sands spill. 

The Enbridge Viking pump station also receives oil from the Alberta Clipper (aka Line 67 pipeline) that carries heavy crude oil and tar sands bitumen from the Alberta tar sands region south from Hardisty to Superior, Wisconsin and refineries in the midwestern United States.  According to a link provided by Enbridge subsequent to this story's original posting, Line 2 begins in Edmonton and carries petroleum products, including crude oil, from Edmonton to Superior. Both lines pass through the Viking pump station.  

The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center website reports the details of theincident, which happened last night:  

DeSmog was alerted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, which is en route to the spill site to gather more information. Stay tuned for updates to this post below.
**This story originally reported that Enbridge Line 67 tar sands pipeline suffered the leak, but Enbridge subsequently confirmed the spill was on Line 2. DeSmog regrets the error.**

Enbridge was warned earlier this month by the National Energy Board that the company "is not abiding by federal safety standards at 117 pumping stations along its extensive crude oil network in Canada, putting the safety of the public at risk."
The Line 2 leak has stopped and Enbridge is working on cleanup operations now. The spill does not appear to have reached water. For more details, visit http://enbridgeus.com/Viking/.

Similar to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline battle, Enbridge is currently seeking a Presidential Permit from President Barack Obama to expand the capacity of the Alberta Clipper Line 67 where it crosses the international border. The Alberta Clipper pipeline currently transports approximately 450,000 bpd of crude oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to the midwestern U.S.
"Enbridge's Line 6 pipeline, linking Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, Ont., was shut down temporarily by American regulators last July following a rupture and spillage of more than 3 million litres of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich. Three months later, the National Energy Board, which was monitoring the U.S. investigation,quietly ordered a 20 per cent pressure reduction on Enbridge's Line 2 Canadian pipeline, which links Edmonton to Superior, Wis., along sections that contained pre-1970s flash-welded pipe."
DeSmog has confirmed at least two previous spills on Line 2, one in Minnesota in2004 that spilled over 1,000 barrels and another in North Dakota in 2010 that spilled over 3,000 barrels.

Reuters reported in 2011 (emphasis added): 
"Canadian regulators ordered Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) to cut pressure on its 440,000 barrel per day Line 2 last October after raising concerns that the company might not be able to detect cracks in the oil pipelineThe National Energy Board's order remains in effect. It restricts the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, to operating at 80 percent of normal pressure, according to documents provided by the regulator. The board said it was concerned that Enbridge might not be able to consistently identify cracks in pipes laid before the 1970s using flash-welding techniques."

See Official NRC Reports here:

[[Location:48.215387, -96.404579]]

Fuel Barges Explode in Mobile, AL

[AP: April 25, 2013 - Mobile, Ala.]


Firefighters on Thursday extinguished a huge blaze that erupted hours earlier when two fuel barges exploded in Mobile, Ala., leaving three people with critical burns and forcing the evacuation of crew from a nearby cruise ship.

The cause of the fire, which started Wednesday night, remained under investigation, but it was believed to be accidental, Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said in a statement.

The blaze was extinguished early Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega.
Firefighters from Mobile and Coast Guard officials responded after 8:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday to a pair of explosions involving the gas barges in the Mobile River east of downtown. Additional explosions followed over the next few hours.

Authorities say three people were brought to University of South Alabama Medical Center for burn-related injuries. The three were in critical condition early Thursday, according to hospital nursing administrator Danny Whatley.

Across the river, the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico last February before it was towed to Mobile's port, was evacuated, said Alan Waugh, who lives at the Fort Conde Inn in downtown Mobile, across the river from the scene of the explosions. Waugh saw the blasts and said throngs of Carnival employees and others were clustered on streets leading toward the river as authorities evacuated the shipyard.

"It literally sounded like bombs going off around. The sky just lit up in orange and red," he said, "We could smell something in the air, we didn't know if it was gas or smoke." Waugh said he could feel the heat from the explosion and when he came back inside, his partner noticed he had what appeared to be black soot on his face.

Carnival didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment late Wednesday.
Video from WALA-TV (http://bit.ly/15NEYJl) showed flames engulfing a large section of the barge, and a video that a bystander sent to AL.com (http://bit.ly/13vWz4G) showed the fiery explosions and billowing smoke over the river.

The initial blast took place in a ship channel near the George C. Wallace Tunnel -- which carries traffic from Interstate 10 under the Mobile River, Vega said. The river runs south past Mobile and into Mobile Bay, which in turn flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

The tunnels were still open and operating, Mobile fire officials said in a statement.
As daybreak approached, the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department's fireboat Phoenix was moving toward the barges, checking to make sure their mooring lines were secured, the fire department said in a statement.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, Huffman and Vega said.
"Once (the fire) is out and safe, a full investigation will take place," Huffman wrote.

Mobile Fire Chief Steve Dean told AL.com he was confident the fire wouldn't spread to nearby industrial properties, including the shipyard where the Carnival cruise ship is docked.

Huffman said the ship is directly across the river from the incident -- about two football fields in length.
The barges are owned by Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine, company spokesman Greg Beuerman said. He said the barges were empty and being cleaned at the Oil Recovery Co. facility when the incident began. He said the barges had been carrying a liquid called natural gasoline -- which he said is neither liquefied natural gas or natural gas. He said the company has dispatched a team to work with investigators to determine what caused the fire.

The explosion comes two months after the 900-foot-long Carnival Triumph was towed to Mobile after becoming disabled on the Gulf during a cruise by an engine room fire, leaving thousands of passengers to endure cold food, unsanitary conditions and power outages for several days. The ship is still undergoing repairs there, with many workers living on board.

Earlier this month, the cruise ship was dislodged from its mooring by a windstorm that also caused, in a separate incident, two shipyard workers to fall into Mobile Bay. While one worker was rescued, the other's body was pulled from the water more than a week later.

View the Official NRC Reports here:

[[Location:30.691032, -88.035250]]

Friday, April 5, 2013

Where are the other 650 Barrels of Oil? Shell Reports Pipeline Leak of 700 bbl of crude oil...

On April 4th, Shell reported to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center (NRC) that 700 bbl of crude oil (29,400 gallons) had spilled from a pipeline. However, official Shell statements say that only 50-60 barrels had spilled into Bayou Vince. Where did the other 650 barrels go? Please share and let us know if you have further information on this incident.

[From Fox Business News] An estimated 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipeline operated by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RSDA.LN, RDSA) into a waterway outside Houston, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Shell clean-up crews were working to clear the crude out of Vince Bayou, a waterway that connects to the Houston Ship Channel, which leads into the Gulf of Mexico, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Steven Lehman. The spill was contained but the total amount of oil was still being verified, Officer Lehman said.

"That's a very early estimate--things can change," Officer Lehman said.

On April 3, about 700 barrels were found to have leaked from the West Colombia pipeline because of an unknown cause, with up to 60 of those barrels emerging in the bayou, Shell spokeswoman Kim Windon said. The pipeline had been shut down and isolated on March 29 after alarms alerted the company that oil may have leaked from the line.

Write to Ben Lefebvre at ben.lefebvre@dowjones.com
Copyright © 2013 Dow Jones Newswires


[[Location:29.1180555555556, -95.3675]]

Monday, April 1, 2013

Approx. 10,000 barrels of Heavy Crude Spilled in Mayflower, AR

March 31, 2013 - [Reuters]: 

Exxon Mobil on Sunday continued cleanup of a pipeline spill that spewed thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Arkansas as opponents of oil sands development latched on to the incident to attack plans to build the Keystone XL line.

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said on Sunday that crews had yet to excavate the area around the pipeline breach, a needed step before the company can estimate how long repairs will take and when the line might restart.

"I can't speculate on when it will happen," Jeffers said. "Excavation is necessary as part of an investigation to determine the cause of the incident."

Exxon's Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas, was shut after the leak was discovered late Friday afternoon in a subdivision near the town of Mayflower. The leak forced the evacuation of 22 homes.

Exxon also had no specific estimate of how much crude oil had spilled, but the company said 12,000 barrels of oil and water had been recovered - up from 4,500 barrels on Saturday. The company did not say how much of the total was oil and how much was water.

Three NRC reports have been recorded in the Alerts System:




[[Location:34.964146, -92.428461]]

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Support FOIA-Matic: A Tool for Pollution Response Transparency

Want to know what action the government takes when pollution is reported in the Gulf Region? Help us win support from the Knight News Challenge for our FOIA-matic online tool allowing citizens of the Gulf Coast to easily submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Every day, SkyTruth Alerts users with subscriptions to the Gulf of Mexico get a litany of pollution reports, but now we have a chance at a share of $5 million dollars to build a tool to find out the rest of the story - and we need your help! The BP Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 attracted media attention from all over the world; but what about the dozens of spills, everything from 6 mile-long oil slicks to a few drops of crude oil, that are reported daily to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center (NRC)? 

To help citizens to find out how the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded to pollution reports, we are proposing FOIA-matic, a new feature to be added to Louisiana Bucket Brigade's iWitness Pollution Map and our Gulf Oil Spill Tracker. This simple tool will enable anyone to easily submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Coast Guard and EPA to find out if there was any response or enforcement to a pollution report. 

FOIA-matic, our proposal to the Knight News Challenge on Open Government, is open for feedback until 5 p.m. E.D.T. on Friday, April 29th.  Please click the link below and let us know what you think! Offer suggestions how the tool might work, discuss issues the project needs to account for, and let us know how you might benefit from such a tool.

The more feedback and constructive conversation on our entry, the better our chances to win a share of $5 million dollars in funding to build this resource. Providing your comments and applauding our entry requires you to "join the challenge," either by logging in with Facebook or a valid email address, but please take a few minutes to help make this tool a reality!

This post is tagged between the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the chronically leaking Taylor Platform 23051 in order to appear in the Alerts feed of as many of our Gulf Coast subscribers as possible.

[[Location:28.859108, -88.672028]]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Court Orders Fracking Contamination Case Records Unsealed

[From StateImpact PA - March 21, 2013] Range Resources, MarkWest Energy and Williams Gas agreed to settle a high profile contamination case in Washington County for $750,000, according to recently unsealed court records.  An order to unseal the records was entered Wednesday in Washington County Court of Common Pleas by President Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca. Judge O’Dell-Seneca reversed an earlier decision to permanently keep the more than 900 pages of court records secret. In the order she stated that the drilling company’s claims of privacy rights had no merit.

Here at SkyTruth, we believe that data and information about environmental issues should be open and available to the public, especially documentation about events that are affecting or may affect personal health and wellbeing. We have worked to improve fracking chemical disclosure from a database that was not effectively transparent, all so that citizens and public officials can make informed decisions about risks and benefits. We hope that information like this will be useful in making good decisions about natural resource development, whatever those may be.

NOTE: Location approximated based on street address listed in court documents.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Preliminary Results of Water Well Contamination Investigation - June 2012

A document review at a PA DEP office by Save Our Streams PA located this report from June 2012 on a possible drilling-fluid migration incident. The reports suggest that groundwater may have been contaminated by drilling fluids during the first 213 feet of drilling. The documents were captured as images and this file, though zipped, is over 1 gigabyte.

Downloading will take a while!

Preliminary Report: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxXaODKClcMBUlNJS0pXUHc2Y0k/edit?usp=sharing

Readme: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxXaODKClcMBVGhvbkNWNzA0OTA/edit?usp=sharing


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thar She Blows! Another Oil "Geyser" in Gulf of Mexico

According to news accounts and reports coming through the SkyTruth Alerts system, a work boat struck a wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico about 9 miles southwest of Port Sulphur, Louisiana, about 8pm on Tuesday.  [NOTE: keep your distance - this well poses a hydrogen sulfide risk.] The well has been intermittently discharging an oily mixture ever since, in a semi-spectacular way judging from this photo provided by the Coast Guard:
Oily geyser erupting from wellhead damaged by a work boat Tuesday. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.
This is reminiscent of a similar incident in the Gulf back in August 2010, when an abandoned wellhead in Barataria Bay was also struck by a vessel and spouted oil 100 feet into the air.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sierra Club Requests Public Hearing on Delaware City Refinery

The Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club is requesting a public hearing on changes to the Delaware City Refinery air emissions permits. Without a demonstrable increase in capacity, the facility is requesting permission to increase emissions of substances such as sulfuric acid and lead, as well as overall particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  This facility came under scrutiny by the media in October 2011 for repeated hydrogen cyanide releases noticed by our Office Administrator and Alerts subscriber Teri.