The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced
the source of a 10-square mile oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico
was likely a naturally occurring oil seep from the ocean floor,
not a spill from an oil rig.
The bureau said that an underwater vehicle deployed by Shell
surveyed the area and found oil seeping naturally from the ocean
floor. The BSEE said, however, it is working to confirm the seep
as the origin of the 10 square mile oil sheen first reported
The sheen is located roughly 130 miles south east of New
Orleans and is near two Royal Dutch Shell platforms, but the
findings by the underwater remote operated vehicle (
) quieted fears the oil was due to Shell drilling or oil
The sheen is dissipating, said Shell, and is the size of
roughly six barrels of oil.
Shell made a point of emphasizing it had not experienced any
incidents at its platforms in the vicinity of the oil sheen.
"We worked closely with our sister agencies to coordinate our
efforts as Shell mobilized their ROVs to investigate the source
of the sheen," BSEE Director James Watson said. "We appreciate
Shell's diligence in responding, as well as the efforts of the
men and women of BSEE who continue to work hard to quickly
resolve this situation."
The Gulf of Mexico is especially rich in oil and natural gas.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management keeps track of known seeps
from which oil and sometimes natural gas escape. Using data
already available to the departments and Shell, the ROV was able
to locate the seep, and confirm that oil was escaping through