2012 December 02, Sunday
Macondo area, Gulf of Mexico
Since our November 9th flyover of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead and our publishing of the large surface oil slick there, BP has announced plans to begin further investigation of the wreckage and seafloor in that area, beginning tomorrow, December 3. Since the weather was perfect today and seas calm, we made a quick flight to see how things look out there, now three weeks since our Nov 9th flyover. We were surprised to find a new drilling platform sitting almost right over the wellhead, and a large drillship also in the vicinity. We were dismayed to find many large surface slicks in the area, as well as some new ones along the eastern coast of Louisiana south of Black Bay. And of course it's unfortunately no surprise anymore to see the large, chronic Taylor Energy oil slick that has plagued the southern tip of Louisiana since 2004.
The new platform that has appeared over the Deepwater Horizon wellhead bears the name "ENSCO 8502." There was a fairly large slick about 2 miles northeast of it (photo on the left below), about 2 nm long and about 100 m wide. But an even larger slick extended northwest almost directly from the new platform -- this one almost 2 sq nm (4 sq km) in size. In the maps below, the point marked "04221" is almost directly over the wellhead. The ENSCO platform was at the point marked "04381." (As always, high-resolution photos are available upon request. Here, photos in the galleries below will show up in a larger view when they are selected individually.)
In the first video below, you'll see the smaller of the above two slicks for the first 45 seconds, after which we pan to the ENSCO 8502 platform and the larger slick adjacent to it. There is another slick about 1 nm to the east, which is about the same size as the smaller one to the north (see photo on right below). Finally, there was yet another slick south of here, which was about 1 nm long (north-south) and about 50 m wide (no photo of that one is shown here).
About 10 nm south of the ENSCO 8502 platform and the wellhead, we found a large mobile drillship named "ENSCO DS-3" with two supply boats -- the C Legacy and the Jack Edwards. A small oil slick was adjacent to this drillship running westward about 500 m, about 10 m in width. Another 2 nm farther south was a working BP platform "MC474A", which was flaring and which also had a small slick extending westward from it, about the same size, roughly 500 m in length and about 10 m wide. A video showing this platform is included below.
See all the photos and videos and read the full article here!