Record oil leak 100 times greater than company says -- Tuesday, June 25, 2019 --

The wake of a supply vessel heading toward a working platform, crossing over an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy Co. LLC oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana in 2015. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

A record 14-year-old oil leak off the coast of Louisiana is not releasing as much crude into the Gulf of Mexico as recent estimates suggest, but it's still spewing between 100 and 900 times more than claimed by the company involved in the incident, a study from NOAA and the Department of Commerce found yesterday.

Taylor Energy Co. LLC's oil platform, Saratoga A, fell during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Extreme waves caused a subsurface mudslide at Mississippi Canyon 20 in the Gulf where the platform sat in more than 400 feet of water.

The structure toppled and dragged to the south, snapping and then burying in sediment the cluster of 28 pipes drilled to carry oil to the surface. The company became the responsible party for cleanup, decommissioning and monitoring, a role it held for nearly 15 years.

Oil and gas plumes have been leaking to the ocean's surface from the site ever since, and according to the recent report from NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, oil is flowing at a rate of between 378 to 4,536 gallons per day. The event is the longest continuous oil spill in U.S. history, according to one of the report authors.

Earlier this year, some estimated the spill was releasing between 2,100 and 71,400 gallons of oil per day. ....

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