After reports of a second, smaller Gulf oil leak
swirled around the Web on Tuesday, Diamond Offshore Drilling issued a lengthy evening press release
that categorically denied allegations of its own crude oil spill.
In the same note, however, Diamond Offshore reveals that it took preventative measures to ensure wells damaged in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan
were not leaking anything but "minimal surface sheen" into the Gulf, which has since been reduced. [Emphasis added]
Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (NYSE:DO) today confirmed that there have been no leaks of hydrocarbons
from the semisubmersible drilling rig Ocean Saratoga. The rig is under contract to Taylor Energy Company LLC and engaged in the process of plugging and abandoning wells damaged when a Taylor Energy production platform was toppled during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. As previously announced by Taylor Energy today, Taylor is continuing its ongoing well intervention program, using the Diamond Ocean Saratoga, with full approval from Unified Command. The well intervention program at Mississippi Canyon Block 20 is the result of the destruction of a production platform caused by a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. The platform was toppled by a subsurface mud slide triggered by storm surges with 100 foot waves.
As reported by Taylor Energy, the wells were covered by more than 100 feet of mud and sediment and only four wells were capable of production without pressure assistance. The associated surface sheen was minimal and never made landfall. As a result of deploying three subsurface containment domes and performing six successful well interventions, the initial average observed sheen volume of nine gallons per day has been substantially reduced.
Unidentified aircraft took photos this weekend that incorrectly reported an oil leak coming from the drilling rig Ocean Saratoga. At the time of these photos, Taylor Energy was actually conducting marine operations on site with a 180 foot dynamically positioned workboat for regularly scheduled subsea containment system drainage. The tanks mistakenly characterized as containing dispersants on the boat's deck, were actually tanks to store and transport the collected oil as it was pumped from the underwater storage system. "The effort is continuing as directed by the Unified Command," said Will Pecue, President of Taylor Energy. "We have been working consistently and successfully with MMS and the U.S. Coast Guard to address the resulting environmental impacts of one of the ten most intense hurricanes ever recorded by the National Weather Service...
Meanwhile, the BP oil spill continues, with the latest estimates
putting the daily oil flow rate as high as 4 million gallons. BP is said
to be collecting somewhere around 460,000 gallons per day using its lower marine riser cap system, but will attempt to install a tighter cap to collect even more oil sometime next month.