A documentary about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is premiereing in Los Angeles this week. Called The Big Fix, the film touches on scientists’ concern that a “second wave” of oil is rising from oil giant BP’s Macondo well, which suffered an explosion in April 2010, causing the largest oil spill in US history.
The scientists worry it could contaminate Gulf waters and poison marine life, possibly posing a public health risk.
Their claims are based on tests of oil samples taken last month on land off the Mississippi coast, where researchers believe that fresh oil from the Macondo Prospect has reached. If this is the case, the oil is more than 100 miles north of its origin.
Chemical engineer Marco Kaltofen said the lab results suggest that the Macondo Prospect is still leaking: “The data show that the Horn Island sample taken September 20th contains lighter hydrocarbons that normally degrade quickly. This oil looks like the original BP oil fingerprint from last summer. It’s very fresh and very toxic.”
However, BP has said it is confident that the well remains sealed. A spokesperson told ELN that BP and the US coastguard sent a diving team to inspect the Macondo well this year and found that it remains sealed after being plugged last September.