When reports surfaced last week of a possible oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico, there was speculation concerning the return of oil from the Macondo well, the source that leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf last year.
Louisiana State University chemists Ed Overton and Scott Miles tested samples of the oil, collected by Alabama's Press-Register. What'd they find? Overton sounds pretty certain — BP is back:
After examining the data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252 oil, as good a match as I’ve seen. ... My guess is that it is probably coming from the broken riser pipe or sunken platform. ... However, it should be confirmed, just to make sure there is no leak from the plugged well.
Last week, BP spokesman Daren Beaudo told CBS News that the company sent submersibles to investigate the source of the oil but said "it couldn't have been from anything of ours."
While sheens regularly appear throughout the Gulf from "seepage" and its more than 20,000 rigs and pipelines, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jonathon Burton told the Press-Register that by matching the collected oil to the Macondo oil, that it rules out the "possibility of other sources, such as the pipelines that crisscross the Gulf floor. ... The good news is it looks as if we’ve ruled out any significant source. ... We certainly need to see if we can pinpoint the cause.”
In a statement to the Press-Register, BP said there's no evidence the oil came from the Macondo well.
Well, there's another topic of discussion for tomorrow's Rising Tide conference. I'll be moderating a panel recapping the events of the disaster, and what we can expect to see in the months and years to come. Joining the panel is the Times-Picayune's David Hammer and Bob Marshall, blogger Drake Toulouse, Louisiana Bucket Brigade director Anne Rolfes, and LA Coast Post writer Dr. Len Bahr.