Everyone remembers the catastrophic oil spills like BP’s in 2010. Few remember the slow motion spills, like Taylor Energy’s, which has been drip drip dripping for all of the past 10 years—a leak shrouded in secrecy and seemingly impossible to fix.
An investigation by the Associated Press this week sheds some light on the Taylor Energy oil spill, which is even worse than previously thought. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan sent a mudslide that knocked over Taylor Energy’s platform. The wells underneath have been leaking ever since, at an estimated rate of over 124,900 litres a year, six times that of an earlier estimate. A visible oil slick spreads out from the area.
How can it be 10 years and the leak is still going? On one hand, this leak is especially tricky to fix. The mudslide dumped sediment all over the wells, making the job harder than your typical “plug and abandon.” But Taylor Energy has also been especially secretive in their filings, refusing to disclose many details because of trade secrets.
What’s even odder about the whole story is that Taylor Energy is now only a ghost of a company now. The company sold off all of its offshore assets in 2008, and it has just one full-time employee now. It only still exists to deal with the oil spill—how’s that for a legacy?
Top image: The sheen from the Taylor Energy spill. AP Photo/Gerald Herber