BP Oil Spill Disaster: The Growing Emergency, the Unpunished Crime

Two years and many millions of gallons of oil later — and still counting –, the Gulf is in worse condition than it was weeks after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded on April 20, 2012.

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 20, 2012

The worst man-made disaster in the history of modern society is still ongoing, and the criminals responsible for it continue to be the sole guardians of the crime scene. Animal and plant life continue to die in the Gulf of Mexico due to the continues leakage of oil from the depths of the ocean floor while from above, planes continue to poison the waters with Corexit in an attempt to hide the fact that the oil spill is far from being over. The lies and the fraud carried out by the federal agencies in charge of coming to the rescue and British Petroleum, which swindled the public for many months became part of a coverup that had the main stream media as their best accomplices. Under reporting or completely ignoring the oil spill and its magnitude was the job of the corporate whore media, that followed the traditional don’t ask, don’t tell modus operandi, limiting themselves to report what they were told to report.

Two years and many millions of gallons of oil later, the Gulf is in worse condition than it was weeks after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded on April 20, 2012. As we all remember, that explosion resulted in the immediate death of 11 workers, a tragedy that has grown exponentially since then. After multiple attempts to supposedly ‘cap the leaking well’, BP was caught lying with a straight face, even during congressional hearings. The large volume of information to be analyzed, the lack of expertise of those in charge of holding BP accountable and BP’s explicit intention to defraud the public has made it impossible, so far, to bring those responsible for committing one of the greatest out-in-the-open crimes in history to justice. In fact, BP has worked overtime to try to settle the crime outside of court with both the residents of the Gulf and the Federal Government. Unfortunately, the residents caved in by accepting what on the face appears to be a juicy compensation, but does not solve their main problem whatsoever. Earlier this year, a group of residents settled with BP for damages caused as a result of the oil spill, letting the multinational off the hook regarding legal responsibility.

The problem is, money will not solve the disaster now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. The money those residents received will be long gone before any real solutions are provided to actually cap the leaking well, clean the waters of the Gulf and return the region to the state it was in before the explosion. As we have informed before, capping the well that BP tried to keep secret during congressional testimony and up until now, may be impossible. The leak that is now flooding the Gulf with oil and gases is not a traditional leak per se, but a major leak coming out of a fractured sea floor that experts believe is a direct consequence of an explosive detonation. Regardless of the cause, the fact is the oil is still leaking just as fast as life in the Gulf is fading away. Up until now, several documented reports from private citizens show that oil is still reaching the surface before it is rapidly dispersed with Corexit during night flights. Another fact that cannot be easily ignored is the death of hundreds of sea animals that are found on the beaches of the Gulf region. Sea Turtles and dolphins lying dead on the beaches at an unprecedented rate, more than at any time before in history, is a sign of the only certainty we can believe in right now: The US government and BP lied to the public.

Separate reports from people who visit the Gulf region on a daily basis to document the death sea animals there count the number of  dead turtles and dolphins by the hundreds. Oil on the surface of the ocean has been seen by people in planes and helicopters all over the Gulf. These same leaks were a rarity before April 20, 2010, but the so-called authorities say that the oil is coming from natural seepages out of the Gulf’s ocean floor. Scientists who have been shown the images, such as Dr. Ira Leifer, from University of California, say that the size and location of ocean surface oil are important enough to require another investigation. But not such an investigation is happening and as we said before, BP is spraying Corexit on a nightly basis to hide the new oil. Corexit, a product made by Nalco, is banned in 19 countries around the world, included the United Kingdom due to its high toxicity.

As The Real Agenda reported before, BP owns 70 percent of the leases for oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Those leases mean billions of dollars for the government, of course. But the reason why BP was left off the hook up until now goes way beyond a few billion dollars. BP was allowed to operate above all available standards of security and legality from the beginning. A detailed analysis of how the Gulf of Mexico Disaster happened gives us a clear picture of what this means.

A CHRONOLOGY OF THE DISASTER

The first gas well blowout that happened on April 20, 2010, was caused from shallow gas influx through leaks in the top hole section of the well caused by replacing drilling mud with sea water at 8,367ft BSL The light hydrocarbon influx came directly from the shallow gas-saturated weak sub-formation zone. After the initial gas surge, the top hole section quickly settled into a steady in-flow state. Light hydrocarbons then continued to flow into the top hole section of the well without affecting the stability.

From April 20-22, the Deepwater Horizon Platform experienced the explosions we all witnessed live or otherwise. These explosions followed the blowout from April 20. Even more explosions happened later as it was reported by firefighters at and close to the oil platform.

Early on April 22, underwater demolition charges were used to break the riser at 460ft from the BOP#1 end; 4540ft below water surface. This explosion caused the riser to bend in just 15 seconds, which is thought to have been aided by directional charges.

By the late afternoon on April 22, another deliberate detonation took place, which occurred around the sub-seabed level. According to experts who provided us with this information, the main objective was to demolish the third well and to induce a second bottom hole well blowout – BHWell-Blowout#2. However, an unintended result of this purposely set explosion, shook the shallow sub-seabed sediment resulting in a simultaneous massive discharge of hydrocarbons from the abnormal shallow hydrocarbon accumulations. The direct consequence of this explosion is what satellites images revealed on April 25, 2010: an oil slick of about 580 squared miles. At the time, the images suggested that hydrocarbons from the Macondo reservoir might be leaking through multiple cracks on the ocean floor.

Because of the numerous explosions, at the depths they took place, no one found out about the leaks until around April 24, 2010.

Later on April 22, almost right after the previous explosion, a new detonation went off at the second well that caused a complete breakdown od the cement plug at the bottom of that well. This resulted in the leakage of gas that might have depleted itself if BP had not messed it up later. Experts are sure that no big oil spill had happened if BP hadn’t caused such a spill artificially.The explosion that happened on the evening of the 22nd, started the massive oil spill we now know as the BO Oil Spill Disaster. This explosion ejected the Blowout Preventer out of the 3rd well, the one BP tried to keep secret for as long as they were able.

From the document BP drilled 3 wells at the Macondo Prospect:

“The original BOP is referred to as BOP#1 because there were at least 2 more BOPs brought into the Macondo prospect. BOP#2 replaced the broken BOP#1 and is now standing at NASA warehouse facility. No wonder NDV (Det Norske Veritas) were confused in their forensic examination of the fake BOP#2. Although DNV did not exactly say it, even their computer simulations and modeling could not fit in micro-details of BOP#1’s failure”

As it is now known, the Gulf was flooded with the largest amounts of oil after the detonation of BSB-Detonation#1 and BHWell-Blowout#2. (As shown by the satellite photo taken on 25 April 2010) Earlier on April 22, 2010, the satellite photo only showed the smoke from the Deepwater Horizon platform.

The latest of the detonations was conducted to achieve at least three goals, the document says: 1) to jam up the potential flow. This is confirmed by the jammed up 2 drill-pipes at the kink in the bent riser. 2) to weaken the well casing cement at the annulus. This is the reason why the detonation took place below the well casing level. 3) to breach the base cement plug to unleash the explosive hydraulic power of the reservoir.

The reservoir well detonation that occurred on August 1, 2010, was the last attempt to seal the leaking well after several previous attempts through the month of July. In this case, the detonation was caused by a nuclear device. Proof of this event is reflected by the unlikely shallow earthquake registered in Louisiana at about 11:34:29 Central Daylight Savings Time, just 12 minutes after the detonation. The epicenter of the quake was 5km deep exactly on the NW-SE fault line. Many people believe the nuclear explosion, although did not cause a complete activation of the New Madrid fault, it did cause to become unstable.  To this fact we can add that the wellhead at well A was still standing, which makes it an impossibility that well A was the leaking well. The oil was indeed coming out of well 3, now known as Well BE.

WHAT IS BP RESPONSIBLE FOR?

BP is in part — along with other entities and persons — responsible for committing various crimes against the people of the Gulf, violating local and federal laws, perjuring in front of Congress, hiding information from authorities and the public that prevented the realization of a complete and orderly investigation of the events that led to and that happened during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010.

More specifically, BP is to blame for illegally drilling a 3rd oil well, the one it tried to hide in order to keep the crime secret from authorities and the public. The company drilled this third well without the proper permit, and it was precisely this well the one that caused the largest oil spill in the history of the oil industry. The third well was not approved by the Mineral Management Service (MMS) for exploration and/or drilling in the Macondo Prospect. According to ROV video, Well BE, was the only one of the three wells that BP drilled that reached the desired depth the company wanted to access the Macondo Reservoir, which later caused the underwater explosion.

BP perjured itself by testimony of their representatives before Congress by providing false evidence that BP had drilled only the permitted well (well A). This well was, according to evidence, drilled to a depth of 5,000 feet, way to shallow to reach the Macondo Reservoir. BP stopped works at well A because the drill it was using got jammed by the pressure formation collapse at the open section of the well bore. The collapse, experts say, could have been caused by gas saturation at sub-formations. BP informed the MMS that this well (well A) was leaking gases and oil. Well A was abandoned for safety reasons.This also confirms that the gas blowout that occurred on April 20, 2010, could have not come from well A.

Meanwhile, well B, drilled to a depth of 13, 305 feet, also way too shallow to reach the Macondo Reservoir, could not be drilled deeper because of similar drills jamming problems. According to geohazard experts, well B experienced even stronger pressure problems. Regarding this fact, Transocean is still suing BP for not informing the company about these type of problems. BP could have drilled at the same location using something called a bypass, which would have enabled the company to keep on perforating the sea bed around the same place but change trajectory at some point. BP had asked the MMS for a permit to do such a procedure, but never actually did it, neither on well A or B. Evidence and reasons for BP not to have done the by-pass range from the company’s own reports to safety and inefficiency.

BP also withheld vital information up to the explosion on April 22 that, experts agree, would have led to the speedy and safe control of the well. Such controls would have prevented the cement plug at the base from failing completely; avoided that the high-pressure oil gushed out of the reservoir directly into the well; stopped the gas blowout on April 20 that was caused by shallow gas influx within the first 9,000 ft; reduce or eliminate the danger posed by the shallow hydrocarbon influx into the upper section of the well, which had settled into a steady inflow. If British Petroleum had informed the reality of the situation, the result of the explosion on April 20, 2010 would have been less lethal indeed.

British Petroleum also perjured itself in Congress by claiming that a second explosion on 2010 April 22 was the reason why the Deepwater Horizon Platform collapsed, destroying the riser pipe that was still attached to the blowout preventer (BOP#1). BP also said that the riser pipe, that goes from the wellhead to the drilling rig broke as the DWH fell into the ocean. BP said that the first leak was located at the bent rise, on top of BOP#1. Later they added that the larger second leak was at the broken end of the riser, at about 480 ft to the north inside a blown crater at the seabed, and that the third leak was just a smaller one occurring at the Riser on the seafloor. This was of course false. Videos from the ROV’s frm April 22 – 24 show that there were no significant leaks on the broken riser, and all of the gushing oil seemed to be coming from isolated seafloor.

From the document BP drilled 3 wells at the Macondo Prospect:

We further posit that it was this detonated explosion that triggered the second, more powerful oil blowout by breaching the base of this well below 18,000 ft bsl and allowing high-pressure oil from the Macondo reservoir to gush directly into the well. It was this detonated explosion at shallow depth that started the chain of events that led to the uncontrollable massive oil spill that poisoned the Gulf with oil from the Macondo reservoir. The first gas blowout, which set the DWH rig on fire April 20, was caused by gas influx from the shallow gas-saturated weak subformation (GWSF) zone. After that initial gas surge into the well, the shallow section of the well (down to 10,000 ft bml) appeared to have stabilized into a constant-flow equilibrium with the GWSF zone.

At that point there was no immediate danger of another gas blowout from within the well, neither from the shallow section with a stable incoming leak from the GWSF zone nor from the deep end o the well which had not been breached by virtue of being suppressed under heavy mud weight. Well A, which is located 720 ft southeast of the blown well BE crater, had been spewing gas from the same GWSF zone since 2010 February and had not been plugged, a violation of MMS regulations regarding abandoned wells. At the time of the first gas blowout on April 20 until at least April 24, well A and well B were left abandoned and had no man-made connection (riser pipe or any pipeline) to well BE or to BOP#1 sitting on well BE’s wellhead. The second detonated explosion, however, did aggravate the gas leaks at both wells A and B, due to the inter-connecting faults and the same GWSF occurrence at all three wells.

The scenario described above is supported by ROV videos, specifically the one that shows the blown out crater from April 23, 2010. This video shows the riser pipe dipping northward into the crater floor with the oil flowing from the north, forming a plume directed southward. This debunks BP’s statement that the oil was leaking out of the broken riser connected to the blowout preventer at well A. So, the oil was not leaking from that well, but from further below at the crater itself located at the illegally drilled third well. Additionally, the video of the shows the fractured seafloor near the third well crater. This had been covered in part by gigantic amounts of cement and drilling mud. This fact also confirms the impossibility that BP was not aware of the explosion, since work had already been done to cover up the crater and site of the explosion caused by the indiscriminate drilling and the detonation performed that caused the crater in the first place.

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS TO FIND OUT MORE

As monumental as all these facts may seem, should the federal agencies allow truly independent investigators to take charge of the oil spill site, and complete a whole new investigation, the public would learn even more about the investigations conducted by citizen groups and independent researchers as well as to reveal even more of the information we do not know. For example, an full investigation would show exactly how ROV videos were altered to hide the real state of BOP#1, which had been blown in pieces and whose parts were buried on the seafloor. The same situation occurred with wellheads and casings from well BE, the third illegally drilled well. The videos were cut and pasted to cover up the times and dates of the explosions as well as other aspects such as coordinates, headings, altitudes, depths, job description.

The making of the false videos and their presentation as proof that everything was under control was one of BP’s main lies in Congress. It was intended to support their claim that the leaks were coming from well A, as supposed to Well BE. Further research would also show how exactly BP substituted the blow out preventer at well A and lying about it being the original BOP. This BOP withstood the explosions on well A up until April 22, but was destroyed by the second detonation on that same day. This, as posed before, caused the massive flooding of the Gulf of Mexico with oil from the Macondo Reservoir. The result of this flood was a panic-driven initiative to use Corexit to try to clean the waters. As we now know, Corexit does not have that capacity. It only turns the pockets of oil into smaller particles without actually cleaning the ocean.

In order to pull this plan off, BP had about two weeks to carry out the changes, while the people were shown ROV video footage of well A. BP then installed a second BOP at well A, which later was presented as an intact BOP bent-riser assembly. “A forensic examination on this fake BOP#2 naturally raised more questions than answers and left many important questions unanswered.”

These are just a few of the facts that would be confirmed beyond reasonable doubt — not that more of it is necessary in order to know the truth –.

TOXICITY AND DEATH IN THE GULF REGION

Testimonies continue to reveal the dire consequences of the BP oil spill from two years ago continue to pour in from different reports ranging from individuals — who on their own dollar travel to the region to document the scenario of death and sickness now developing around the coastal areas — to foundations and non-profit organizations that provide residents of the Gulf and the rest of the world the information the main stream media does not.

An article from the Surfrider Foundation dated April 17, 2012, shows the extent of the persistent toxicity at different locations. Just as many other activists have done it, the foundation demonstrates how people who live in the region are exposed to toxins in the water, the sand and the air. “We saw hazmat-suit wearing workers leaving the beach as the sun rose over the horizon. They had worked during the night and were leaving just as the tourists came over the sand dunes for a day at the beach. The workers had worked hard and picked up what oil globs that could be seen by the naked eye (aided by a little extra UV light). If it was safe for tourists then why would workers have such protection? If it wasn’t safe why weren’t the tourists being told that?”

According to the previous report, between 800,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of Corexit have been used in order to disperse the oil coming out from the Macondo Reservoir. The Surfrider Foundation released a report entitled: “State of the Beach“, a study that provides the latest details about the Gulf of Mexico on-going disaster. The report related that the large amounts of Corexit being sprayed over the Gulf’s waters is making it impossible for microbes to digest the oil. “The persistence of Corexit mixed with crude oil has now weathered to tar, yet is traceable to BP’s Deepwater Horizon brew through its chemical fingerprint. The mix creates a fluorescent signature visible under UV light.”

In an article dated October 2010, environmental reporter Julia Whitty documented the magnitude of the disaster up to that time. By her account, methane was shooting up from the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, exploding at the well’s head. Those gases and the oil that came out from the bottom of the ocean floor would later turn the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig into the least of the problems. The Surfrider Foundation’s report speaks about four main relevant facts:

* The use of Corexit is inhibiting the microbial degradation of hydrocarbons in the crude oil and has enabled concentrations of the organic pollutants known as PAH to stay above levels considered carcinogenic by the NIH and OSHA.
* 26 of 32 sampling sites in Florida and Alabama had PAH concentrations exceeding safe limits.
* Only three locations were found free of PAH contamination.
* Carcinogenic PAH compounds from the toxic tar are concentrating in surface layers of the beach and from there leaching into lower layers of beach sediment. This could potentially lead to contamination of groundwater sources.

The complete study from the Foundation written by James H. “Rip” Kirby III, is accessible to the public online. His study tested samples of crude oil in the northern Gulf of Mexico from the day the spill happened. Field testing from May 2010 were conducted at beaches before the crude oil from spill made its way there. Additional testing was done on tar samples for a trend analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
(PAH) that analyzed concentration levels. This tests began March 2011 and were completed in November 2011. Overall, 71 samples were tested. “Tests for 38 different PAH analytes were done on 48 samples. Oil range organics (ORO) tests were done on 23 samples. Compared to the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) or carcinogenic exposure limit for PAH analytes listed as coal tar derivatives, 90% of the positively identified analyses exceeded the IDLH limit,” reads the report.

For months and months, federal agencies assured Gulf residents and tourists that it was safe to consume seafood from Gulf waters, even though visual proof showed otherwise. Now, a report issued by Al-Jazeera confirms the worst fears regarding food safety and how it has declined since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Both scientists and residents of the Gulf region continue to find not only contaminated sea animals, but also others that have suffered mutations as a consequence of the exposure to chemicals used to supposedly clean the waters from the oil spill. As reported by EcoWatch.org: “horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp” along with “shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.” And this seems to be only the beginning. See visual proof of the mutations and contamination in this news report. In a press communique, BP responded to the questions of food contamination by saying that both NOAA and the FDA guaranteed that seafood from the Gulf was as safe as it was before the oil spill disaster.Meanwhile, NOAA declined to comment on the findings of the investigation conducted by Al-Jazeera, saying there would be a conflict of interest because the organization was involved in the lawsuit against BP.

The results of the tests conducted to back up the investigation show not only mutation and contamination, but also the decline in the number of kinds of sea life as well as the number of those sea animals. These facts add to the already existing economic and environmental Armageddon that the oil spill has caused and continues to cause for residents and visitors. BP has responded to investigations and evidence of fraud, perjury and lies with numerous PR campaigns and has moved fast to settle as much of the problem as possible outside the traditional legal processes. “The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” says Dr. Jim Cowan, who works at Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.” Al-Jazeera reports that fishermen have witnessed how 50 per cent of the shrimp caught during the last high season were damaged with mutations or missing body parts, a consequence of BP’s oil and dispersants. “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets,” says Tracy Kuhns, who is a commercial fisher in  Barataria, Louisiana. According toxicologists like Dr. Riki Ott, who survived the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the usage of dispersants is a draconian experiment being performed by BP. Corexit is know to have a combination of solvents, petroleum distillates, 2-butoxyethanol, among others, which work by dissolving oil, grease, and rubber. Mr. Ott said to Al Jazeera that the solvents in the chemicals are toxic to people, and that “it is something the medical community has long known”.

Separate studies have already demonstrated that oil dispersants like Corexit have mutagenic effects, which directly explains why seafood are experiencing the type of physical changes reported by fishers and residents, as well as why large mammals such as dolphins are appearing dead on the beaches all along the Gulf of Mexico. As it has been shown by several studies, the deformities caused by the chemicals carry out their effects through several generations, especially in those animals whose life span is shorter. The chemicals do indeed enter and negatively affect the genes. Although deformities and major health problems are not seen in humans, many residents of the Gulf have already been found sick or have died to the exposure to the chemicals sprayed over them. The chemicals can be absorbed through breathing, ingestion of contaminated food and water, through the skin or even the eyes. Early symptoms of intoxication manifest as headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pains, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. In the worst case scenario, the person dies if not treated or if an explicit detox program is not followed and repeated frequently.

A study conducted by Dr. Andrew Whitehead, from Louisiana State University, that analyzed the negative effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was published on the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last October. The report speaks volumes about the physiological effects of the oil disaster and shows a clear link between the BP oil spill and the intoxication of the waters, sea life and Gulf residents. “We found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” said Whitehead during an interview with Al-Jazeera.

The oil industry has gotten away with so many crimes that government agencies, regulators and even the public have become conformed at best. The BP oil disaster happened — in part — as a consequence of a wave of exemptions to allow risky drilling operations without following proper safety procedures and it was the US federal government, through its multiple agencies the one that granted those exemptions. This makes the government as guilty as BP; guilty of the mass killing of life in the Gulf region. So, even if the same complicit government managed to try BP for its actions, who will indict the government for its complicity in this catastrophe? As oil industry insiders informed the public back in 2010, there was indeed an agenda to wipe out all life throughout the Gulf of Mexico at first, and everywhere else around it later.

The BP oil spill disaster, as we have abundantly reported, was the result of a combination of factors; among them, greed, lack of accountability, corruption and government collusion with powerful out-of-control corporations. Now, when it comes to simply letting the disaster get worse and worse, both the government and BP have taught us that their nature is rooted into a cesspit that is deeper and darker than anything humans are familiar with, a level that goes beyond corruption and disregard for responsibility. The actions and the inaction, the cover ups, the lying, the levels of conspiracy and deceit, the smoke screens and the expressed complicity not to solve the disaster they themselves created can only be explained by the degree of Evil with which corporations traditionally operate. It is in this times when the thoughts that government does not work for the people are effectively reinforced. It is becoming tiring to report on this issue without seeing any action taken against the corporations and the government agencies that allow those corporations to operate above the laws that the rest of us are obligated to abide by. This state of affairs also shows us the magnitude of the problem the people are up against. The problem is, as defined evidence, a direct and open war against us the people. An additional caveat is that given the inability of the public to demand answers and action, the warmongers hold all the chips in their power and while this stays the same, the war will continue to be waged on the same uneven table.

Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons

Oil and gas are still seeping unabated, says expert. Toxic leakage poses significant public health risks.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
October 10, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has not gone away. In fact, it has grown exponentially since the main stream media stopped talking about it. According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, an organization composed of scientists, medical professionals and seafood industry professionals, among others, the problem cannot be simplified to the damage already caused by the oil spill. It is worse, much worse.

Pools of crude oil float on the surface of Gulf of Mexico waters at the site of the sunken BP/Transocean oil drill the Deepwater Horizon on April 27, 2010. Getty Images

The Real Agenda received exclusive information regarding the current state of the ongoing emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest assessment performed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance reveals not only that the oil spill is still happening, but also that the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor grew more unstable since the explosion in 2010. Additionally, analysis provided by experts like BK Lim, shows that the geohazards developed that derive from the rolling leakage of toxic matter, combined with the on-going use of the highly toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit will most likely result in the permanent decline of marine life, while posing out-of-control public health risks, just as it did after the Exxon Valdez spill where the same chemical dispersants were used resulting in a rapid decline of the marine life until, for example, the Herring industry completely collapsed and has never recovered since then.

In a letter dated 14 January, 2011 that was sent to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Congressman John Shimkus Chairman Subcommittee on Environment and Economy,  BK Lim warned the congressmen and their committees about the current state of the sub-seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). In the document, an in-depth assessment of the emergency was provided. It explains why action must be taken immediately. The evaluation of the emergency in the Gulf conducted by Mr. Lim appears credible and is based on his 30 years of experience analyzing the geologic structure of both dry land and underwater drilling sites for major oil industry companies and leading geohazards contractors such as Fugro Geodetic (M) Sdn Bhd, TL Geohydrographics Sdn Bhd, and RPS Energy Pty Ltd.

The vaporization of enormous amounts of methane hydrates on a scale not seen before, the release of stresses between the lower and upper crust resulting in the abnormal occurrences of low magnitude, shallow earthquakes adjacent to the New Madrid Fault, the sub-seabed underground erosion in the vicinity of the shelf edge undermining the slope stability with possible tsunami-generating, giant, submarine landslides,” said Mr. Lim.

As we now know, the BP explosion that cost the lives of 11 workers was not an accident, but negligence at best and a conspiracy at worst. The latest assessment from the Gulf Rescue Alliance seems to reinforce the fact that BP drilled into the Macondo well with questionable regard for the damage it would cause to the well itself, the sea floor and the marine environment down below.

“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead, observed from the ROV videos, have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recovery activities,” details the document sent to congressman Upton on January 14 of this year. The direct result of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion was the massive destruction of life through miles of coastline. The less than adequate cleanup, which helped worsen the disaster, condemned the area to living with tons of toxic chemical dispersants that simply destroyed the eco systems and negatively affected the health of thousands of people who live nearby and millions of others who directly and indirectly depend on the fishing, tourism and natural beauty of the marine life, wildlife and environment.

A review of the documents and news articles during the days and weeks after the underwater explosion, clearly shows that BP was attempting to buy time with various delay tactics and was unwilling to reveal the truth and magnitude of the disaster. While BP was officially battling to kill well A their contractors and other vessels went about with other covert underwater operations, many of which did not seem to be in sync with the urgency of killing “a third undisclosed well which was gushing even more oil”. For example there was this video showing a ROV brushing of the name of another oil company from a new BOP brought into the vicinity of the Macondo wells. BP Clean off Co Logo on BOP – why?on 9 June 2010.Other videos showed oil gushing from craters on the seafloor and ROV activities (blasting (demolition?), cutting and removal of well casings on the seafloor and from a hole (another well?), dismantling BOP, grouting of seafloor tens to over hundreds of meters away from well A. How could a BOP be dangling for two weeks from 3 to 16 July while BP was showing to the world’s audience the killing and capping of supposedly the only spewing well A from June till 15 July?

In fact, in early media reports animated graphics suggested 3 different leaks locations. BP admitted initially 3 leaks but conveniently reduced to only 1 later; ignoring to explain the “why, when and how”. BP had maintained from the start they had drilled only 1 well. From my analysis in early Aug 2010 I concluded BP could not have drilled only 1 well. They must have drilled 3 wells to account for all the conflicting information. See media reports here.

Videos also confirmed that even as early as May to June, oil and gas were already spewing from the seafloor as far as 7 to over 20 miles from Well A. A satellite photo on 25 May suggests a good correlation between the seabed oil spewing and with the faults and Salt Domes.

Evidently, numerous Youtube video postings not only confirm that BP and multiple federal agencies who were on the scene were not revealing all to the public, but that unknown quantities of hydrocarbons were still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. “It is not possible to “cap” this oil,” reads Mr. Lim’s analysis. “Until a solution is found to seal these fissures, the hydrocarbons, including Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), will continue to leak uncontrollably”.

WHAT IS NOW HAPPENING BELOW THE GULF’S WATERS?

The document sent to congressman Fred Upton is accompanied by photos, videos and other documentation that support the concerns expressed by the Gulf Rescue Alliance. Just as a doctor with years of experience in viewing and analyzing x-rays can immediately see a fractured bone or other ailment when a laymen would not see it or understand it’s importance, Lim has years of experience in viewing underwater videos of oil and gas seepage and can quickly see and analyze what is occurring where a laymen would not pick up on it. In his letter, Lim describes what is occurring in a series of underwater videos taken by ROV’s around and near the wellhead.

In one of the videos, Well A, as it is known, appears to be releasing clouds of methane saturated seawater, gas bubbles of methane and re-crystallized methane crystals floating close to the seabed in the vicinity of the Macondo wellhead. On top of this, says the letter, it is also possible to see new fissures and a bulging seabed developing together with an already blown crater.

A second video shows how the very rope that guides the surveying ROV disappears into a dense, darkish cloud of oily fluid. Lim’s document explains how grout materials and old drilling mud that were previously taken to higher altitudes by columns of gas in the water can be seen in the video falling back onto the sea floor. These columns of gas are coming from newly activated venting fissures formed due to sea floor instability and fragility. Viewers can also see re-crystallized methane which appears as transparent and light multicolor materials floating in the water.

The third video shows the “periodic expulsion of the gas through one of the fissures on the seabed. Like geysers, the escaping gas needs to accumulate beneath the top sediment cover until the built-up pressure exceeds the combined water-column and overburden pressure just before each periodic expulsion,” explains the report compiled by the Alliance. According to images obtained from a ROV video, there are pools of tar/oil sediment all over the seafloor which are the direct result of the oil spill.

Although it is very difficult, under the current circumstances, to obtain clear footage of what is going on at that depth, my extensive training and experience in analyzing these types of situations, combined with these footages and others which I have access to, provides proof that oil and gas are still seeping unabated from the uncontrolled leaking reservoir,” warns BK Lim on his letter sent to congressmen Upton and Shimkus on 14 January, 2011.

Independently collected video footage from places like Saint Louis Bay Beach, Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and other places around the Gulf shows large amounts of fresh Corexit foam on the beach. As Corexit can only be used to sink fresh oil within the first couple of days of it coming up out of the ground, it is yet another indicator that there is an on-going attempt to sink fresh oil below the surface. Surficial bitumen layers (oil tarballs) that made it to the water surface as recently as September 6, due to storm surge are also coming up in massive amounts. According to sources close to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, on August 18, 2011, members of EcoRigs, went out and collected surface water samples that contained crude oil which they believed belonged to the ongoing BP oil spill. They also recorded video evidence of a heavy oil slick on Long Beach Mississippi. The water / oil samples were examined by independent laboratories and the first of those samples to return from the lab on the 28th of September confirmed their concerns: the oil was BP’s and from the Macondo reservoir.

Water sample analysis conducted independently by EcoRigs shows a positive correlation to BP’s oil spill samples. “The presence of fresh BP MC 252 crude oil in surface waters 2 to 14 months after the well was reported to have been capped suggests that crude oil from the BP DWH MC 252 field may have found new pathways to the seafloor.” The evaluations conducted also reveal that the toxic chemical Corexit is now being applied to the subsurface leak located 1500 meters beneath the ocean’s surface at the wellhead. This is done with the intention of further decomposing the oil so that the smaller particles do not make it to the surface and the continuing oil spill can be easily kept from the public eye.

ANOTHER MISHANDLED DISASTER

Just as with Katrina, more than a year into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Federal government has shown its ineptitude to adequately solving the consequences of a major disaster. In separate documents gathered by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, more revealing details are provided about how BP and the government handled the oil spill disaster. “The blown crater at the undisclosed 3rd well was spewing more than 100,000 barrels per day. (100,000 barrels estimate was based on the quantity of oil seen on the surface). Even worse the highly corrosive mix of brine, gas and oil ingresses into every crevices and permeable sections of the formation, creating new pathways to the seafloor,” says Mr. Lim. The Alliance subscribed to the standard industrial practice of conducting a detailed seafloor survey as immediately possible, to establish the extent of the seafloor damage following the well blowout. Just as an X-ray would help the surgeon in pin-pointing and planning the most appropriate surgical procedure, such a detailed seafloor and sub-seabed scan would most certainly provide the most strategic approach to stopping the release of hydrocarbons from the beleaguered well or wells. After ignoring repeated calls for such a seafloor survey since the blowout, BP and NOAA suddenly announced such a research survey using the NOAA Okeanos Explorer 15 months later. The only logical conclusion to this late survey is:

“A seafloor survey then (within the first few months) would reveal the ugly truths about the broken seafloor and precarious salt formation they were trying so hard to hide,” continued Mr. Lim. After more than a year of grouting, patching up and destroying all critical evidence in the seabed around the Macondo wells they (BP) were confident enough, the “modified seafloor” would not be incriminating to them. According to Mr. Lim, British Petroleum was very careful not to mention the fact they had drilled 3 wells. If this fact had come out, it would have caused a bomb and they could have been indicted for drilling without permission. “That is what they fear most,” says Lim. BP was also careful to isolate drilling crews away from each other, which according to Lim,  is against safety rules because drilling need to be briefed on hazardous and technical problems encountered at earlier drilling stages. Although BP may not have expected the three wells to blow up, this was an almost sure outcome due to the interconnected shallow gas formation (which was one of the main causes of their numerous problems). Further, after urgent requests for recommendations, a formal request was made to the Coast Guard on behalf of Constituent David Fakouri with the Louisiana Economic Foundation demanding seafloor survey and damage assessment be done with a 3rd party observer, but the request was denied.

The recent seafloor survey went on to have totally different emphasis and priorities. This led geohazards expert BK Lim to conclude as follows:

The vessel’s track history seemed to suggest higher emphasis in the south-western edges of the Biloxi Dome, the southern edged of Whiting Dome and generally south of the Macondo prospects. While there may yet be geologically valid reasons for the emphasis south of the Macondo wells, the shelf edges 6 to 8 km north-west of Macondo Wells and the badly eroded north-western edges of Whiting Dome should at least be surveyed with some grid-lines (see areas P1 and P2).

BP’s vessels had been observed working for quite some time in both areas. The 22 mile long underwater plume (first denied by BP and later confirmed by many independent research cruises), was suspected to have originated from the cracks in the seafloor at these locations. By avoiding these critical areas, can the present survey investigation be truly objective and independent in investigating the truth of the Macondo Blowout?

Almost all the oil sightings are north of the Macondo wells, not south. Why did the survey deliberately (?) avoid the shelf edges north of Macondo. In March 2011, new oil spills were suspected to have come from “leaks in the seabed” north of the Matherhorn field. The shelf edges bordering the Mississippi-Alabama Shelf, appear pretty fractured with large crevices and in potential danger of sliding into gigantic submarine landslides. Submarine landslides are more effective in generating tsunami than quakes without significant landslides. Both the 2011 Japan and 2004 Sumatra Quakes had giant tsunamis due to the accompanying large submarine mass displacement.”

During the first few weeks of the disaster, there was a struggle within BP between thosewho wanted to come clean about the reality of the situation and another group that wanted to cover it up. Apparently the latter group managed to win the struggle and they decided to use the well with the least of the problems (the first and shallowest, Well A, which was drilled to about 5,000 feet below mudline) to be the one staged for the world media as the “show capping” of an oil spill. The third and bigger leak at Well 3, which the late Matt Simmons kept asserting was “the deepest well that reached the Macondo oil resevoir”, was kept out of the public limelight.

A confidential source informed The Real Agenda that credible scientific evidence has been gathered giving high probability to allegations that oil is, in fact, still leaking and that inadequate oil spill response protocols were employed by the EPA, Coast Guard and other officials at Federal and State levels throughout the disaster. According to the source, the compilation of the scientific evidence is not just an edict of worrisome errors but criminal negligence resulting in a worsened tragedy throughout the Gulf States and Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem resulting in serious human health consequences—with EPA being at the head of that mismanagement.

The source further reports that between May 2010 and March 2011 long after the reported capping of the BP well in July of 2010 the average toxicity levels in the Gulf Region waters from Texas to Florida were persisting at unsafe levels and that, in some cases, they were thousands of times higher than EPA established safety threshold levels. It was during this same period of time that federal government agencies put out propaganda saying everything on the Gulf of Mexico was safe, including seafood, air and sea water.

It has been alleged that NOAA’s testing methods were flawed resulting in the “all is safe now in the Gulf” proclamation by responsible agencies. A separate concern is the fact that BP has a $500 million fund paying for continuing studies on the after effects of the spill and use of Corexit leading to concerns by independent scientists over the transparency and availability of this information to the public. Scientists under BP or government contracts conducting studies are not permitted to publicize or discuss any of their data until delivered to their employers. With some of these studies estimated to take several years, the public won’t know the truth until years later.

On September 13, 2011 new oil was seen close to where the original BP oil explosion occurred. Due to the fact the EPA insists on using Corexit as the only possible solution to the problem, the most important issue up to this point -the dire consequences of using Corexit- are not being addressed. Corexit not only contaminates the Gulf of Mexico and the human populations established throughout, but also is ineffective remediating the core problem: cleaning the Gulf waters as fast as possible. The only thing Corexit has proven is its effectiveness to pollute the waters and the Gulf as a whole. Why then does the EPA and the federal government insist on using it? It is interesting to note that none of the official statements by either the EPA or the oil companies state that Corexit cleans up the waters. They do, however, repeatedly state that Corexit is “effective”, which misleads the public into thinking that Corexit is cleaning up the waters. What Corexit is effective at is sinking it below the surface where it is difficult to see and quantify just how much is there, and breaking it up into small particles and spreading the contamination far and wide making the potential problems of toxic exposure to both humans and all the flora and fauna exponentially worse.

EPA ENFORCES ANTIQUATED OIL SPILL CLEAN UP PROTOCOLS

On its website, the EPA mildly agrees that using Corexit as a tool to clean the Gulf has “trade offs”. The question is, where are the positives? The oil is not being cleaned, but the waters and the complete ecosystem are being contaminated. Given the Federal Government’s line of action, it seems the task at hand is to make things worse, instead of better. Even after BP requested to test on the DWH oil already-proven, effective, non-toxic alternative oil spill cleanup technologies the EPA refused to allow those alternative technologies to be utilized.

One of the most highly regarded products suggested by scientists and environmental and conservation groups is Oil Spill Eater II, which is not only approved by the EPA, but also listed as part of an official list of products for oil spill cleanup, called the National Contingency Plan (or NCP List) that have been tested and approved as workable for emergencies like the one now taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Gulf Rescue Alliance, BP’s requests to use Oil Spill Eater II were denied by the EPA and regional federally controlled response team officials. The Real Agenda additionally received documents showing formal requests were made by the Governor of Louisiana Mississippi and Alabama to use or conduct trials on OSE II in their states. In June 2010, the EPA sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Jindal denying the use of bioremediation methods for the DWH oil. Per documents obtained by the Gulf Rescue Alliance, the letter had a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements in it, and showed a surprising lack of understanding of the natural process that mother nature follows to clean up an oil spill. This effectively took off the table all but one of the non-toxic products on the NCP list for use in the Gulf of Mexico blowout. The only non-toxic product which did not fit under the detailed description of why the EPA stated that bioremediation would have only limited value, unwittingly made the case for the immediate use of OSE II. When this was pointed out to the EPA in a subsequent letter by OSEI, the company that manufactures and distributes OSE II, the EPA ignored the letter. BP America’s Chief Counsel stated in a conference call with the OSEI Corporation, in September of 2011 that BP was not able to use OSE II to treat the oil disaster because “BP is bound by the government’s decision” —bound by the EPA mandate [to keep using Corexit]. Consequently, it is estimated by sources outside of BP that BP could “have saved an estimated $36 billion in clean up costs if they had deployed the EPA approved alternative to Corexit. Gulf Rescue Alliance members state that it is in possession of voluminous documentation that indicates the EPA arbitrarily blocks any attempt to use environmentally friendly methods to clean the Gulf and instead prefers to use Corexit with no regard for the marine life and public’s health from the now proven to be fatally toxic chemical dispersant.

The use of friendlier technologies could not have only saved the Gulf’s ecosystem in the earlier stages of the disaster, but it would have also reduced the costs of the clean-up process for both the federal government and BP itself and prevented untold damage. Instead, the disaster in the Gulf continues to endanger everything and everyone as the toxic contamination spreads, and the costs of the clean-up process -which are now estimated in the tens of billions of dollars- continue to skyrocket.

Given the EPA’s decision not to help resolve the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, community organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed lawsuitsthat ask the EPA to conduct long-term studies that evaluate the impacts of Corexit on the environment and endangered species. It is expected that these lawsuits will act as a wake-up call to the EPA, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which appear to have made a conscious effort to block all alternatives directed towards the use of OSE II or any other environmentally friendly and truly effective technologies or techniques to clean the Gulf swiftly and effectively.

Luis R. Miranda is a Journalist with 15 years of experience. He is the founder and editor of The Real Agenda. Learn  more about Luis here.