Taylor Energy lost a major oil facility near the mouth of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Ivan (2005). A mudslide, a massive flow of unstable sediments, sheared off the platform and all of its wells. The sheared stubs are buried under 80+ feet of sediment.
Taylor has been working on plugging the wells downhole, and has used novel well intersection techniques in doing so. BP even licensed the technology and consulted with Taylor to drill its Macondo relief well.
But there is a steady leak of oil from one of the Taylor wells. Environmental groups have their panties in a bunch over it. Even the worst case estimate of the spill volume (400 gal, less than 10 bbl per day) is dwarfed by the rate of natural seepage.
…[The] consortium says its satellite imagery suggests the release is far higher [than Taylor's estimated 7.5 gal/day], between 100 and 400 gallons of oil per day. And it says that the vessel supposed to be doing the cleanup has showed up only sporadically.
The Gulf Monitoring Consortium writes that the alleged contamination is emblematic of larger problems it intends to address through comprehensive monitoring for spills, it said. Volunteer pilots and sample collectors built on the efforts of Skytruth, a nonprofit that uses satellite imagery to gather information for environmental causes.
Certainly Taylor should be expected to plug its wells, but all this hand-wringing over a relatively small seepage is ridiculous.