“Still leaking in Gulf” : Times-Picayune Reports on Perpetually Leaking Taylor Energy Site


Oil slick from the Taylor site, seen from the air by Gulf Restoration Network on a Southwing’s flight – both GMC member organizations. See more photos at flickr.com/healthygulf

SkyTruth – July 2, 2013 : Following a recent cluster of “conflicting reports” of oil-slicks observed around the wreckage of former Taylor Energy platform #23051, the Times – Picayune of New Orleans ran an article yesterday on the almost nine-year saga of ongoing pollution from the damaged wells. On June 18th and 20th, GMC member SkyTruth reported a larger than usual discrepancy between the reports from Taylor Energy’s contractor who flies the site daily, Marine Pollution Surveillance Reports by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and SkyTruth’s own analysis of the satellite images from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

From The Times – Picayune [Excerpt]: Taylor Energy Oil Platform, Destroyed in 2004 During Hurricane Ivan, is Still Leaking in Gulf

Conflicting reports

On most days, the aerial inspection by Taylor Energy finds an oil sheen, and its dimensions are repo[r]ted to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center.

On June 18, according to the report, that sheen was a bit larger than normal: 10.1 miles long and 200 feet wide, and contained 3.84 gallons of oil. But on that day, NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service spotted the same slick from space, using NASA’s Aqua satellite. Its estimate, also reported to the center, was that the slick was 30.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. That report contained no estimate of the amount of oil.

Skytruth, an environmental group based in Shepherdstown, W.Va., that specializes in remote sensing and digital mapping, estimated the spill was 22 miles long and contended that the slick contained at least 65 gallons of oil. In a report released last year, the Gulf Monitoring Consortium, made up of Skytruth and other environmental groups, said its estimate of oil slicks ‘suggests the leakage rate is possibly in the range of 100-400 gallons per day.'” 

Read the rest at nola.com…

While the Unified Command disputes our numbers, SkyTruth has always been consistent and transparent about how we calculate our estimates, (see here from the early days of the BP spill) and exactly what assumptions we use. We are very interested in how Unified Command and Taylor’s contractor calculate their reports, given that it has been flown multiple times by other groups, especially Bonny Schumaker from On Wings of Care, who consistently reports a slick much larger than what Taylor’s contractor reported on the very same day.

SkyTruth’s reports can be found on their blog at:

June 18 – 9 Years, Countless Gallons Spilled, No End in Sight

June 20 – Responsible Modern Offshore Drilling. Except When It Isn’t.

SkyTruth also maintains a chronology of all documented reports of pollution from the Taylor site:

Site 23051 Chronology – Oil Spill Reports

See photos of the Taylor Site from Gulf Restoration Network: Taylor Leak – by Air & Sea