Satellite Imagery Finds Oil Spill in Left Bay in Ida’s Awakening


Cleanup teams are working to contain what experts call a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to satellite and aerial survey footage, ship tracking data, and interviews with local officials and others involved in responding to the spill.

The leak, one of many plumes seen off the coast of Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida, was spotted in satellite images taken Thursday by space technology companies Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies.

About two miles off Port Fourchon, an oil and gas hub, a black expanse of at least 10 miles and the rainbow glow of oil radiated over the coastal waters. Aerial survey footage of the leak caught Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NS strong hurricaneSweeping one of the country’s largest chemical, oil and gas centers when it landed on Sunday, raised concerns On the vulnerability of the region’s fossil fuel infrastructure to intensifying storms associated with global warming from oil and gas emissions.

It was unclear how much oil spilled into the Gulf, according to one person with direct knowledge of the cleanup. The storm-damaged leak, possibly from an old pipeline that is no longer in use, was first spotted on Monday during reconnaissance flights conducted by a number of Gulf Coast manufacturers and reported to the Coast Guard. has the authority to speak publicly about the clean-up work.

Two more boats joined the cleanup late Saturday. James Hanzalik, executive vice president of Clean Gulf Associates, a non-profit oil spill cooperative founded by industry, He confirmed on Friday afternoon that a leak was underway and a cleanup was underway.

Lieutenant John Edwards of the U.S. Coast Guard said the spill is believed to be crude oil from an old pipeline owned by Houston-based oil and gas exploration company Talos Energy. A cleanup vessel chartered by Talos said it used skimmers to recover oil and placed a containment boom in the area to try to contain the spread. Talos Energy declined to comment on the recording.

Lieutenant Edwards said Coast Guard boats had not yet arrived at the site, but the agency was told by Talos that only 42 gallons of supplies had been recovered from the water so far. The agency added that it has launched a preliminary investigation.

Several experts who reviewed the overpass and satellite images said the leak was ongoing and important.

“This is a significant spill that requires further investigation,” said Oscar Garcia-Pineda, a scientist at Water Mapping, a consulting firm based in Gulf Breeze, Florida, which leads research on the use of satellite and aerial imagery for oil spills. “I see a hint of thick, heavy oil, which is the main dark feature, surrounded by a rainbow glow,” he said. Wednesday’s image of the overpass seemed to show the leak starting underwater.

The area has been known to be dense with pipelines, and strong storms in the past have caused mudslides that can damage pipes and even the foundations of platforms where equipment is pumping oil and gas from the seafloor, he said.

The images show very thick oil spills and more research is needed, said Cathleen E. Jones, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who attended overpasses to assess storm damage.

“In such a case, obviously with thick oil, you can calculate the area, but what you don’t know is how thick it is.” But based on the color, he said, “it’s a very, very thick slick.”

The likely source of the Talos leak was first identified by John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto-based research center Citizen Lab, who reviewed footage of Ida’s damage.

“The fact that it was possible to find this leak is because NOAA has made the aerial footage publicly available,” he said. If NOAA hadn’t made this public, it would have been much more difficult to figure out what an obvious environmental problem was.”

Associated Press reported Wednesday A few miles east of the Talos spill, it turned out to be a long slick of oil off the coast of Louisiana. It was unclear whether this slipperiness was related.

Overpass and satellite imagery showed numerous other slicks along the Louisiana coast. The person with knowledge of sanitation said it was possible that leaks from other sources also contributed to the smoke.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which regulates offshore oil and gas platforms, said in a media update that workers had been evacuated from 133 production platforms and six drilling rigs as of Friday morning. More than 90 percent of oil and gas production in the Gulf is still closed, the agency said.

The bureau’s update did not mention the ongoing cleaning. It was stated that after the inspections, the productions made from the facilities that did not cause any harm “will be brought back online immediately”. Calls to the Bureau and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality went unanswered.

Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Janie Acevedo-Beauchamp directed questions to the Coast Guard, which deals with spills in coastal waters. The EPA is “committed to deploying the resources we have to help storm-affected communities,” he said.

Naomi Yoder, a scientist at Healthy Bay, a New Orleans-based environmental group, said the leak is the latest sign that pollution from the hurricane is widespread. “The companies that poison our communities must be held accountable and reverse this catastrophe.”

A report published earlier this year It has been found by the U.S. Government’s Office of Accountability that since the 1960s, federal regulators have allowed oil and gas producers in the Gulf to lay approximately 18,000 miles of pipelines to the seafloor. These pipelines, which account for about 97 percent of the decommissioned in the region, are often abandoned without being cleaned or buried.

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed an oil platform about 10 miles off the coast of Louisiana. It triggered the longest oil spill in United States history.


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