Scientists have discovered enormous plumes of oils lurking beneath the surface of the water after leaking out of the critically damaged Deepwater Horizon rig. The plumes, which scientists said measured ten miles long and over a mile wide, were noticed even as British Petroleum's latest attempts to stem the flow of oil from the rig into the Gulf of Mexico failed yet again.
The discovery of the plumes may embarrass British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward, who recently argued that given the size of the Gulf of Mexico the “amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
The plumes suggest that it is in fact the oil visible on the surface which is a tiny fraction of all the oil that spilled since the rig blew up on April 20, according to an assessment by the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology. The NIUST report said that significant amounts of oil were spreading at various levels throughout the water column.
On its blog the NIUST reported on its scouting trip in the spill area, noting that scientists “started seeing an increase in fluorescence just below the surface and this was related to a marked increase in oil on and near the surface.”
The latest attempts by BP to stop oil from gushing into the sea failed on Saturday, as the company tried to fit a narrow tube into the damaged oil pipe a mile beneath the surface. The tube would have siphoned the oil directly to a ship on the surface and sealed the pipe as well.
According to government estimates the spill has so far caused 210,000 gallons, or 5,000 barrels, of oil per day to leak into the ocean. President Barack Obama earlier underscored his determination to end the “cosy relationship” between regulators and oil companies and to ensure that BP mopped up the cost of the clean-up.