An oil leak that occurred when an offshore platform toppled during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 has continued to spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico – and could keep leaking for another 100 years, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The documents show that a century-long leak could occur if
nothing is done to address the problem.
The platform owners, Taylor Energy Company, tried to work with
Department of the Interior “to resolve financial obligations
for the leak” worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which
were set aside to pay for leak-related work.
However, the company has tried to cover up the extent of the
damage to the ecology of the Gulf, and the government has been
unwilling to renegotiate the costs to the Taylor. Instead, it
ordered them to do more work on the matter.
“There is still more that can be done by Taylor to control
and contain the oil that is discharged,” said an Interior
Department fact sheet obtained by AP.
It is suspected, by officials, that the leak is coming from at
least one of 25 wells that were buried under mounds of sediment
from an underwater mudslide that was triggered by waves during
Hurricane Ivan. The company ordered new wells drilled in order to
plug nine of the wells that were suspected could leak oil, but
company officials cited experts to argue that the best course of
action is do no further drilling because of risks.
In reviewing more than 2,300 Coast Guard pollution reports from
2008 onwards, the AP found that since September 1, 2014, the
leaks have been getting greater. When they approached the Coast
Guard about the uptick, reporters were provided with new
estimates showing leaks 20 times greater than what the company
Taylor claimed the site was leaking 4 gallons per day, but
revised Coast Guard estimates show “shines as large as 1.5
miles wide and 14 miles long.” They also show daily oily
discharges ranging from 42 gallons to as high as 2,300 gallons,
with a daily average of 84 gallons.
AP said the company is now down to one full-time employee after
its founder died, and it sold all its offshore leases and oil and
gas interests in 2008.