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Possible New Oil Spill 100 By 10 Miles Reported in Gulf Of Mexico (Update: Spill Photos)

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
March 20, 2011

Black Swan Clusterflock +1. As if earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns and war was not enough, the Examiner now discloses that a replay of the BP oil spill could be in the making, sending WTI to the (super)moon, the economy collapsing, and Ben Bernanke starting the printer in advance of QE 666. To wit: “The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating reports of a potentially massive oil sheen about 20 miles away from the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion last April.” There are no definitive reports yet, but we should now for sure within hours, if the Keppel FELS built TLP is indeed the culprit: “According to Paul Barnard, operations controller for the USCG in Louisiana, a helicopter crew has been dispatched to the site of the Matterhorn SeaStar oil rig, owned by W&T Offshore, Inc.” And if preliminary reports are correct, BP will have been the appetizer: “Multiple reports have come in of a sheen nearly 100 miles long and 10 miles wide originating near the site.” If confirmed, Obama can kiss tomorrow’s Rio golf outing goodbye.

Independent pilots, including John Wathen of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Bonnie Schumaker with Wings of Care, are currently flying out to investigate the spill. Schumaker reports having seen the sheen on Friday, March 18, and confirms that it is rapidly expanding.

A Louisiana fisherman, who has chosen to remain anonymous at this time, also reports fresh oil coming ashore near South Pass, LA, and that cleanup crews are laying new boom near the beach.

The site of the sheen, near Mississippi Canyon 243, lies 30 miles from the Louisiana coastline. The Matterhorn field, at a depth of 2,789 feet (850 meters) of water, was discovered in 1999, leased and permitted in July 2001, and came into production in November 2003. It is located 30 miles SE of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

According to W&T, the field has produced an average rate of 5,200 barrels of oil per day, and has production capacities of 35,000 barrels of oil per day.

Of course, whether this is due to the Matterhorn SeaStar or a second leak that many predicted last year due to the Deepwater Horizon will also be closely evaluated this time around.

An in depth look at the SeaStar (after the jump):

Possible New Oil Spill 100 By 10 Miles Reported in Gulf Of Mexico (Update: Spill Photos)  seastar%202

And the technical specs:

Field Facts
LocationMississippi Canyon, Block 243
Water Depth:2,820 ft
Oil throughput:33,000 bpod
Gas throughput:55 MMcfd
Water Injection:20,000 bwpd
# of production wells:5 spare (sub-sea), 7 + 2 spare (surface)
Production Risers:10 ¾-in, 9 5/8-in, 9 7/8-in
Export Risers:18-in SCR (oil), 10-in SCR (gas)
SeaStar® TLP Specifications
Payload (deck/facilities/risers):8,425 tons
Tendons:6 32-in
Main column dimensions:584 ft (dia) x 125 ft (ht)
Pontoon dimensions:179 ft (r) x 42 ft (ht)
Draft:104 ft
Deck Dimensions:140 x 140 ft (3 levels)
Schedule Milestones
Project Sanction:September 2001
Platform Installation:July 2003
First Oil:November 2003

And from GulfOilSpillAction, photos of the latest supposed spill:

Possible New Oil Spill 100 By 10 Miles Reported in Gulf Of Mexico (Update: Spill Photos)  GrandIsleSlick.3.19.11.jpg1  300x200

Possible New Oil Spill 100 By 10 Miles Reported in Gulf Of Mexico (Update: Spill Photos)  GrandIsleSlick3.19.11.jpg2  300x200

Possible New Oil Spill 100 By 10 Miles Reported in Gulf Of Mexico (Update: Spill Photos)  GrandIsleSlick3.12.11.jpg3  300x200

Update 2: Dow Jones is on it:

The U.S. Coast Guard said late Saturday that it is investigating reports of a miles-long oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard said in a news release that it received a report of a three-mile-long rainbow sheen off the Louisiana coast at around 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. Two subsequent sightings were relayed to the Coast Guard, the last of which reported a sheen that extended from about 6 miles south of Grand Isle, La. to 100 miles offshore.

Though the Coast Guard was able to confirm that there is a substance on the water’s surface, it has not yet been able to determine if it is oil. Petty Officer Casey Ranel said that officers who observed the substance from a helicopter said they saw no sheen associated with it. That flight was diverted from the scene on a separate search and rescue mission, however, and could not continue their investigation, the Coast Guard said in the news release.

The Coast Guard has since launched additional aircraft and boats to the scene from New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., to collect samples of the substance. Ranel said the area where the substance has been reported is about 20 miles west of where the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last April, killing 11 and unleashing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Ranel said the Coast Guard has not linked the substance to any particular rig or well.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which holds oil royalties to pay for spill clean-up costs, has been opened, the Coast Guard said.

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