|Map showing locations of two recent NRC oil spill reports relative to Mississippi Delta, chronic leak at site of platform 23051, and BP / Deepwater Horizon spill. Pink dots are locations of active oil/gas platforms in Federal waters.|
estimating a slick's thickness from its appearance put a "dark brown" slick in the 50 micron range. That would be a spill of 990,000 gallons (23,571 barrels), and a Clean Water Act fine of 26 to 101 million dollars. But somebody in the federal government needs to step up and actually start fining companies for these spills (our intern Michelle is looking into this enforcement question). We think this is critical to improve offshore drilling safety: a credible and consistent financial incentive for operators -- large and small -- to take better care of business, one of the keys to avoiding the next major spill.
|Possible oil slicks delineated with yellow line.|
The June 29 report describes a 125-gallon spill in Main Pass Block 313 creating a "silvery sheen" (very thin slick) of oil about 26,000' long x 2,600' wide drifting southeast from the source. The report gives the spill location (again, not necessarily the source) as a platform operated by Chevron. This roughly matches what we observe on yesterday's MODIS image: a possible slick that's about 9 miles long and 25 km2 in size, beginning about 3-1/2 miles southeast of the platform location. Assuming the slick is 1 micron thick, the total amount of oil it contains should be closer to 6,600 gallons (157 barrels).