Update 3/24 – The Coast Guard issued a press release definitively naming Anglo-Suisse as the “responsible party.” The match was positive after testing was done.
The following was written 3/24:
Late this afternoon, the US Coast Guard sent out a press release stating that yesterday, preliminary sample results “suggest a possible match between samples taken from the shores of Elmer Island and those taken from the West Delta 117, which is an Anglo-Suisse owned well.”
Thus, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office and Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners are working together to clean up oil that has made landfall in the Grand Isle area, today’s press release — titled no. 5 on this current oil spill — stated.
Further testing is ongoing, according to the Coast Guard.
Anglo-Suisse has agreed to cooperate with the Coast Guard and aid in the cleanup response pending any contradictory results from the sample testing, according to the Coast Guard statement.
The company’s CEO John Sherwood said: “We do not believe the spill along the coast is the result of our operations, however, when the Coast Guard informed us that this might be the case, the responsible thing to do was mobilize.”
Currently, an estimated one-quarter to one-half mile of shoreline, in all areas combined, has been affected by patches of oil. Over the weekend, Grand Isle residents were reporting huge swaths of petroleum washing up on the shore. Local Betty Doud took over 40 photos and uploaded them to her Facebook page — some of which appeared in this column as well as in the Huffington-Post.
The Coast Guard and NOAA claimed there was no oil at or in the vicinity of the West Delta 117 site, without actually spelling out when the flight took place. The overflight searched east of Grand Isle to the eastern end of Timbalier Island and 12 miles offshore, still finding no oil, according to today’s press release.
Assets currently being used in the clean up and recovery operations include:
– Approximately 8,400 feet of containment boom deployed to prevent damage to environmentally sensitive areas;
– Four MARKO Skimmers are currently underway;
– Ten barge boats;
– Four drum skimmers.
“We welcome Anglo-Suisse to the Unified Command and applaud their desire to ensure assets and resources are allocated appropriately as the response efforts continue in and around the Grand Isle area,” said Capt. Jonathan Burton, federal on-scene coordinator.
Other assisting and cooperating agencies currently engaged in the clean up and recovery operations include the Department of Public Safety; the Grand Isle Fire Department; the Louisiana National Guard; and the U.S. Wildlife and Fisheries.
Both the Coast Guard and Anglo-Suisse are investigating the cause of the incident, according to the press release which was issued just after 4:30 pm CST.
This comes on a very big news day for the deepwater drilling industry in the gulf. It’s making headlines including from the Times-Picayune that the failed blowout preventer on the Macondo well was clogged by a buckled drill pipe that prohibited it from closing. The report comes from results from Norweigan forensic investigators Det Norse Veritas.
Also this week, it was announced that BOEMRE has greenlit contracts for both Shell and Exxon Mobil to start drilling in the Gulf, at a far deeper depth than even the Macondo well reached.
Shell has the green light to have three wells start drilling in the Gulf, a move that will no doubt raise eyebrows given events of the past few days.
Examiner will follow up with the Coast Guard to find out when the overflight took place, and provide more updates in the days ahead.