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Shares in Royal Dutch Shell fell more than 4 er cent today after an oil 'sheen' was spotted near its facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. The company admitted it does not yet know the cause of the one-mile by 10-mile sheen.
It added it had 'no current indication' it had come from its Mars or Ursa wells about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans.
However, in a statement on its website, the company said it had sent the Louisiana Responder, an oil spill response vessel with skimming and boom capabilities to the area 'out of prudent caution'.
It has also requested flights to monitor the sheen closely with additional aerial surveillance, it added.
Royal Dutch Shell is blaming “natural seeps” for the 10-mile-long slick observed Wednesday evening between two of the company’s largest-producing sites in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite Shell’s denial that either of its Ursa or Mars oil platforms is to blame, aerial surveillance footage shot by On Wings of Care pilot (and former NASA physicist) Bonny Schumaker casts doubt on the “natural seep” scenario (see photos below).
Here’s how Kristen Hays covered Shell’s denial for Reuters on April 12:
Royal Dutch Shell said an oil sheen near two of its offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas platforms was dissipating Thursday, and it was “very confident” its installations were not to blame.
The company said in a statement that although Shell is confident that the sheen did not originate from its operations, the company would continue to respond.
"Our first discovery was with trawls. We knew it was an area of massive seepage, and we expected that the oil seeps would poison everything around" the site. But they found just the opposite.
"On the first trawl, we brought up over two tons of stuff. We had a tough time getting the nets back on board because they were so full" of very odd-looking sea.floor creatures, Kennicutt said. "They were long strawlike things that turned out to be tube worms. "The clams were the first thing I noticed," he added. "They were pretty big, like the size of your hand, and it was obvious they had red blood inside, which is unusual. And these long tubes -- 3, 4 and 5 feet long -- we didn't know what they were, but they started bleeding red fluid, too. We didn't know what to make of it."
The biologists they consulted did know what to make of it. "The experts immediately recognized them as chemo-synthetic communities," creatures that get their energy from hydrocarbons -- oil and gas -- rather than from ordinary foods. So these animals are very much like, but still different from, recently discovered creatures living near very hot seafloor vent sites in the Pacific, Atlantic and other oceans. The difference, Kennicutt said, is that the animals living around cold seeps live on methane and oil, while the creatures growing near hot water vents exploit sulfur compounds in the hot water.
The discovery of abundant life where scientists expected a deserted seafloor also suggested that the seeps are a long-duration phenomenon. Indeed, the clams are thought to be about 100 years old, and the tube worms may live as long as 600 years, or more, Kennicutt said. The surprises kept pouring in as the researchers explored further and in more detail using research submarines. In some areas, the methane-metabolizing organisms even build up structures that resemble coral reefs.
It has long been known by geologists and oil industry workers that seeps exist. In Southern California, for example, there are seeps near Santa Barbara, at a geologic feature called Coal Oil Point. And, Roberts said, it's clear that "the Gulf of Mexico leaks like a sieve. You can't take a submarine dive without running into an oil or gas seep. And on a calm day, you can't take a boat ride without seeing gigantic oil slicks" on the sea surface.
Roberts added that natural seepage in places like the Gulf of Mexico "far exceeds anything that gets spilled" by oil tankers and other sources. "The results of this have been a big surprise for me," said Whelan. "I never would have expected that the gas is moving up so quickly and what a huge effect it has on the whole system."
Although the oil industry hasn't shown great enthusiasm for the idea -- arguing that the upward migration is too slow and too uncommon to do much good -- the search for new oil and gas supplies already has been affected, Whelan and Kennicutt said. Now, companies scan the sea surface for signs of oil slicks that might point to new deposits. "People are using airplane surveys for the slicks and are doing water column fluorescence measurements looking for the oil," Whelan said. "They're looking for the sources of the seeps and trying to hook that into the seismic evidence" normally used in searching for buried oil.
Originally posted by FissionSurplus
The Gulf of Mexico is full of fissures in the sea bed which have been seeping oil and gas for a very long time. There are even sea creatures which have evolved to survive on the oil:
A 2003 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that the many natural seeps in the Gulf of Mexico together emit an average of about 2,762 barrels per day. The exact amount fluctuates over time.
Read more: www.mysanantonio.com...
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Hmmm, of course we are getting conflicting reports, but April again?!?! Isn't this month Satan's birthday or something crazy?