Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 24th 2014

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Outtakes 9/8/11

BP BARBIE FLASHBACK I miss the BP Barbies Liz Castro and Lucia Bustamante. Imagine how those spin doctors would have handled the oil sheens spotted in August near the site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 men and spewed 4.9 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

I can hear Bustamante at a press conference saying, “What oil? Some boat or plane must have caused it. We didn’t do it, and if we did, we have some dispersant to spray on it.”

The Macondo well was capped by BP in July 2010 and permanently killed by sealing the well and annulus with cement on Sept. 19, 2010. BP issued a press release soon after the August oil sheen was reported by the Mobile Press Register.

It was right out of the BP Barbie playbook: “BP confirmed through a standard visual wellhead inspection that there is no release of oil from the Macondo well (MC252).
In addition, BP also conducted a visual inspection of the Macondo relief well confirming the same result.”

Then BP described the equipment and how reliable it is. What it didn’t say is that two LSU chemists analyzed oil samples taken by the Press Register and confirmed that it matches the MC252 oil.

“Ms. Bustamante, what about those tests?”

When the newspaper asked BP that question, it received an email reply, “There is still no evidence that the oil came from the Macondo well.”

We know that the Macondo well tapped into a huge reservoir. We can all remember watching the underwater video of the oil spewing out of the broken pipe. BP failed several times to cap the well because of the immense pressure coming from the well. Several engineers warned us that the pressure could cause fissures in the seabed. Some even worried that the seabed might collapse.

“So, Ms. Bustamante, how can there not be a leak at the well, but the oil matches the oil from the well?”

The oil could be seeping from fractures in the floor of the Gulf of Mexico–one of the worse scenarios possible. BP and the Coast Guard don’t appear to be concerned. The last sentence of the press release stated, “BP and the U.S. Coast Guard have conducted multiple surveys of the area in recent days and found no evidence of oil sheens in the Macondo vicinity.”

A BP Barbie couldn’t have said it better. Some things never change.