Gulf update: Gusher well likely blown out, another well steadily leaking

In case you missed the latest from the Gulf, from which no good news comes these days, Florida Sen. Ben Nelson told MSNBC that the Transocean leaking well may itself be cracked and leaking— horizontally, into the sea bed, effectively turning the Gulf floor into a streaming oil mess and rendering containment efforts impossible for now. More than ever, hope is tied to the relief well scheduled to be finished in August.

Also: SkyTruth, a nonprofit that tracks environmental disasters with satellite photos, reports that the Ocean Saratoga rig owned by Diamond Offshore has also been leaking into the Gulf since April, slowly and persistently and doing so beyond the glare of the media and the eye of regulators because it has gone unreported.

If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well from the bottom via successful “relief wells”. In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell.

On the Ocean Saratoga leak, images analyzed by SkyTruth revealed a slick near the Mississippi Delta approached over time by the larger Deepwater Horizon slick. The Press-Register in Alabama reported the Delta slick was emanating from Ocean Saratoga. All that , via the Florida Independent.

On reporting leaks, via Mother Jones via the Florida Independent:

Right now, oil companies are required by law to report any spills to the National Response Center, Coast Guard or Environmental Protection Agency if there is a “visible sheen.” Oil companies report spilling roughly 1.3 million gallons of oil into US waterways in an average year. But that figure is largely reliant on self-reporting; the government trusts that operators are following the law and reporting all of the spills, Amos says. Coast Guard 1st Class Petty Officer Zach Zubricki told Mother Jones that they do not know of any other spills in the Gulf at this point in time. “I’m only aware of one leak,” said Zubricki. He noted that it’s possible the sheen is related to the major spill from the Deepwater Horizon, since “you get oil everywhere” with a leak of that size.

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