ROVs investigate source of oil sheen at Deepwater Horizon site

News - October 19, 2012

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Remotely operated vehicles deployed from the offshore construction vessel Skandi Neptune collected oil samples earlier this week from the underwater site of the Deepwater Horizon incident to determine the source of a surface sheen discovered last month.

The samples were taken after the ROV video showed apparent oil globules leaking from the containment dome at approximately 15 globules per minute, which is estimated to be less than 100 gallons per day.

In 2010, a 40ft containment dome was used as part of an attempt to capture oil and allow it to flow through a pipe to a barge on the surface.

This technique was not successful and the equipment was moved away from the well head and riser pipe, and set in its current position approximately 500m from the original Macondo well head. It is entirely separate from the well head and any riser piping.

Out of caution, the ROV also inspected the original Macondo well area including the wreckage, debris, relief wells, and the riser on the sea floor and observed no oil leakage from that area.

The two oil samples will be used for lab analysis. One sample will be shared by BP and Transocean, and the second sample will be used by the Coast Guard. The lab analysis will help determine if the containment dome is the likely source of the recent sheening.

"The Coast Guard is further evaluating what is believed to be seepage from the containment dome to determine how best to respond,"h said Capt Duke Walker, Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon response.

The ROV operations were observed by the Coast Guard, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Department of Interiorfs Trustee, BP, Transocean and state on]scene coordinators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.


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