In 2004, 28 oil wells located 11 miles off the coastlines of Louisiana that are owned and operated by Taylor Energy, were destroyed by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan. The consequences of this natural disaster caused oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico. Since the disaster, the Coast Guard and Taylor Energy Company have secretly tried numerous methods to clean up the oil. The major problem is that the mudslide buried the wells under 100 foot deep mounds of sediment. Because of this sediment, it is impossible to plug and abandon the wells that is common practice on other wells in the Gulf Of Mexico. In a futile attempt to contain the flow of oil into the ocean, Taylor Energy has failed by trying to cover the leak using three containment domes where oil collects inside the domes and later is extracted by ships. Other attempts that have been tried and failed focused on sealing the wells with cement, and by drilling relief wells. Despite these efforts oil has continued to spill every single day for the past 11 years.
The spill is located in the Mississippi Canyon Lease Block 20 (“MC20”), oil and gas have been bubbling up to the surface from 500 ft below and spreading out on the surface as long as 17 miles.
Taylor's oil was befouling the Gulf for years in obscurity before BP's massive spill in mile-deep water outraged the nation in 2010. Even industry experts haven't heard of Taylor's slow-motion spill, which has been leaking like a steady trickle from a faucet, compared to the fire hose that was BP's gusher.Thankfully there has been a watch dog that has been following the spill and noting inconsistencies and untruths from Taylor Energy and the United States government.
Taylor, a company renowned in Louisiana for the philanthropy of its deceased founder, has kept documents secret that would shed light on what it has done to stop the leak and eliminate the persistent sheen.
The Coast Guard said in 2008 the leak posed a "significant threat" to the environment, though there is no evidence oil from the site has reached shore. Ian MacDonald, a Florida State University biological oceanography professor and expert witness in a lawsuit against Taylor, said the sheen "presents a substantial threat to the environment" and is capable of harming birds, fish and other marine life.I highly recommend reading the AP article in full. Who could have possibly predicted that not planning for the obvious potential of a powerful hurricane would lead to catastrophic impacts to oil well infrastructure in the GoM? What kind of nightmares await us in the arctic as Shell is bound and determined to drill there with the Obama administrations blessings.
Using satellite images and pollution reports, the watchdog group SkyTruth estimates between 300,000 and 1.4 million gallons of oil has spilled from the site since 2004, with an annual average daily leak rate between 37 and 900 gallons.
If SkyTruth's high-end estimate of 1.4 million gallons is accurate, Taylor's spill would be about 1 percent the size of BP's, which a judge ruled amounted to 134 million gallons. That would still make the Taylor spill the 8th largest in the Gulf since 1970, according to a list compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"The Taylor leak is just a great example of what I call a dirty little secret in plain sight," said SkyTruth President John Amos.