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Topics: Chevron Brazil oil spill may be bigger than thought, Brazil federal police official says Chevron unprepared to deal with oil leak, Major Oil Leak At Offshore Chevron Site In Brazil, Chevron takes blame for Brazil oil spill, Prosecutors aim to revoke BP probation: Prudhoe Bay Spill, Prosecutors seek to revoke BP's Alaska probation, BP leak causes big stink in Texas City, BP Can’t Use Transocean Insurance for Oil Spill, Judge Rules, BP loses 2 big Gulf oil spill rulings, Oil spill: BP finds oil on Perdido Key

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Here we go again. We have another major oil company telling bald-faced lies about the size of their spill. It's hardly surprising since BP got away with it. They didn't even bother with telling a lie that would be remotely believable in the context of satellite data. However, unlike our government, the Brazilian authorities are pushing back very hard against Chevron's lies. h/t Yasuragi

Chevron Brazil oil spill may be bigger than thought

Nov 18, 2011 3:57 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 18, 2011 8:09 PM ET  

Minister Carlos Minc didn't say how much oil has leaked from the site of a well owned by Chevron. The leak began Nov. 8 and some Brazilian officials say has not yet been contained.

The exact cause of the leak is not yet known, but a spokesman for Brazil's Federal Police, which has opened an investigation into the spill, said that Chevron "drilled about 500 metres farther than they were licensed to do."

The minister went on to say the government would soon release satellite images showing that the eight-kilometer oil slick is about one meter deep, rather than just on the surface, which Minc said would indicate that the environmental damage "is certainly bigger" than thought until now.

Chevron said the oil spill was between 400 and 650 barrels of oil, but that the company had contained the leak. The company said "current estimates place the volume of the oil sheen on the ocean surface to be less than 65 barrels."

Ana Carolina Oliveira, a spokeswoman for Brazil's oil regulator, the National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, has said an estimated 1,000 barrels had leaked to the surface and that it was still unclear if the leak was contained.

The nonprofit group SkyTruth, which uses satellite imagery to detect environmental destruction, said on its website the oil spill extended 2,379 square kilometres [918 square miles] and that the spill rate as of Tuesday was up to at least 3,738 barrels per day.

Chevron said that cementing operations are taking place so that the well is plugged. ANP said in a note on its website that "the first stage of cementing, to permanently abandon the well, was successfully completed." The regulator says that the success of permanently plugging the well will be known "in the coming days."

ANP also said underwater footage showed that a "residual leakage flow" was continuing, but that "the oil slick continues moving away from the coast and is being dispersed, as desired."

Chevron had to be told by the Brazilian government that their well was leaking. If that weren't bad enough, they also had to borrow equipment from the Brazilian government to help locate the leak. Chevron's lies about the amount of oil that was leaked should caution us that their statement, “current monitoring indicates oil from the seep lines has been reduced to infrequent droplets,” should be taken with massive tonnage of salt. Until the pressure is taken off the seeps there remains the distinct possibility that the seeps could turn into gushers over time.

Brazil federal police official says Chevron unprepared to deal with oil leak

Published: November 19

U.S.-based Chevron Corp. was not prepared for the offshore oil leak at one of its wells, the head of environmental affairs for Brazil’s federal police said Saturday

Fabio Scliar said Chevron personnel at the well told his investigators that they were “completely unprepared to handle an emergency such as this.” He spoke to The Associated Press by telephone.

He said Chevron was alerted to the spill on Nov.7 by Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras, which operates a well in a nearby region.

Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, said on Friday that nearly 110,000 gallons of oil may have spilled into the Atlantic Ocean. Chevron had earlier said that the spill totaled between 16,800 to 27,300 gallons.

Chevron said it is working to plug the seep and has sent 18 ships to monitor and clean it up.

Scliar said Chevron had to borrow sonar equipment from Petrobras to determine the exact spot of the leak.

“The fact that Chevron had to borrow the equipment also shows that it was unprepared to respond to an emergency,” he said.

In its latest statement posted on its website, Chevron said that “current monitoring indicates oil from the seep lines has been reduced to infrequent droplets.”

I hope that Brazil gets a lot luckier than we did with the Macondo/Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. The well itself has been capped but the seeps remain a highly troublesome worry. One hopes that Brazil will put the best experts they can find on the task of evaluating the risk that the continuing seeps cause. If they turn into gushers there is no stopping them short of producing the formation.

Transocean, the Deepwater Horizon rig operator, is also the driller responsible for this spill—more proof that industry claims of "lessons learned" is unmitigated hogwash.

Major Oil Leak At Offshore Chevron Site In Brazil/a>

November 19, 2011

A leak at an offshore Chevron drilling site off the coast of Brazil may have dumped around 110,000 gallons of oil into the Atlantic Ocean, Brazilian officials said Friday.

Officials think between 8,400 to 13,800 gallons of oil leaked each day from Nov. 8 through Tuesday, Ibama said in a statement on its website. Chevron had said that only 16,800 to 27,300 gallons in total leaked into the ocean.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the leak, which has been almost entirely contained, but the Ibama statement said it was a result of drilling.

An official at Brazil's Federal Police, which has opened an investigation into the spill, said Chevron "drilled about 500 meters (1,640 feet) farther than they were licensed to do." The official, who agreed to discuss the matter only if not quoted by name, said that information came from a person with knowledge of the drilling.

The leak occurred at a drilling site about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio state Environment Minister Carlos Minc said earlier he was sure the leak was larger than Chevron estimated and he called for more transparency from the company.
Marine life in the area of the spill will be affected by the leak, Minc said, adding that whales are migrating from north to south through the spill area.

The oil slick, which was moving away from the coast, grew to 11 miles (18 kilometers), Ibama said. Most of the oil was concentrated around the drilling rig in a layer about 3 feet (1 meter) thick.

Chevron said "current estimates place the volume of the oil sheen on the ocean surface to be less than 65 barrels."
The oil is believed to be coming from seep lines in the seafloor near the well and not from the well itself. Natural seeps are common around the world — perhaps the most well known in the U.S. is the La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles — and are often used by oil companies during undersea exploration to determine where a good prospect for oil drilling may be.

Natural seeps are usually so small in volume they don't cause a nuisance beyond producing the periodic tar ball that washes up on a beach.

But problems with drilling a well nearby can exacerbate the seeps and cause greater flow of oil, which can be hard to control, said George Hirasaki, a Rice University engineering professor who was involved in the Bay Marchand oil containment effort for Shell off Louisiana in the 1970s.

"Anytime there is movement of fluids, even if it didn't go to the surface of the well, the internal flow could result in the fluid going somewhere else," Hirasaki said. "It could move laterally at the same depth or increase the flow rate of natural seeps that are connecting to the surface."

Investigators will want to look at whether the weight of the mud being used during the drilling and abandonment operations was sufficient to contain the pressure inside the well, and they will also want to see whether drilling too deep caused problems in a geopressure zone beneath the seafloor, experts said.

Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University environmental sciences professor, said that to truly control the leak could be difficult.

"If you have this stuff oozing up through the ground you don't have a mechanism for control," Overton said. "If something started that to leak, that would worry me a lot more than a leak around the well. You'd have to drill a relief well and intercept that ooze."

Chevron tells the all too familiar big oil PR lie, "takes full responsibility for this incident." Let's see how much responsibility they truly take when it comes time to actually write checks for fixing the damage they have caused. We already know that they are unwilling and/or unable to clean up their own messes.

We need to pay very close attention to this spill as the Gulf has brittle geological formations that are prone to cracking which has occurred in the Brazilian spill. I'm way over my technical head here but effectively fixing cracks in the seabed which are leaking oil from pressure in a reservoir doesn't sound promising. It would seem that if one cemented the cracks that the pressure from the oil reservoir would simply form new cracks.

Another unhappy tidbit that has been completely ignored by our government regulators is improvement in skimming technology which is the most environmentally friendly way to clean spills. Note that Chevron excuses its lack of rapid response with skimmers by pleading high seas. Neither industry nor government has made any commitment to improve skimming technology so it can be more effective in high seas. Meanwhile, riskier wells are being drilled even deeper.

Chevron takes blame for Brazil oil spill

November 20, 2011
SAO PAULO (AP) — An ongoing oil spill off the Brazilian coast occurred because Chevron underestimated the pressure in an underwater reservoir, the head of the company's Brazil operations said Sunday.

George Buck, chief operating officer for the Brazilian division of the San Ramon, California-based company, told foreign journalists that Chevron "takes full responsibility for this incident," and that "any oil on the surface of the ocean is unacceptable to Chevron."

The drilling fluid that is pumped down the center of the drill as it works, lubricating and stabilizing the pressure of the bore hole, was not heavy enough to counter the pressure coming from the oil reservoir, Buck said.

That caused crude to rush upward and eventually escape through a breach in the bore hole and leak into the surrounding seabed.

The oil then made its way to the ocean floor and has since leaked through at least seven narrow fissures, all within 160 feet (50 meters) of the well head on the ocean floor, Buck said.

Brazil's National Petroleum Agency has said it's possible more than 110,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the Atlantic Ocean. Buck would not provide an estimate on the total size of the leak, but said the agency figure was "in the ballpark."

Buck estimated that 420 gallons to 4,200 gallons (1,590 liters to 15,900 liters) a day are still leaking from the seabed cracks. He declined to guess when the leaks would stop, saying it was hard to predict how long it would take the oil that rushed up the bore hole to make its way to the ocean floor, or even how much of it eventually would.

Investigator Fabio Scliar said Chevron had to be told about the leak by Brazil's state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, which operates a rig in the area where the leak occurred.

He also has accused the company of not using proper methods for cleaning up the spill. He says Chevron is putting sand on the slick to make the oil sink to the ocean floor, and that the company is not using enough manpower or boats in the cleanup.

Buck, however, said Chevron has not used sand or any chemical agents on the oil slick. Instead, he said, boats are driving through the slick to break it up while others skim the ocean surface to collect oil.

Eighteen boats work on a rotating basis on the slick, with a varying number of vessels working simultaneously, Buck said. He said that in the first days after the leak, a storm and ocean swells of 20 feet (6 meters) prevented the boats from safely working.

If, BP's probation is not revoked there seems little point of putting any oil company on probation in the first place. BP routinely breaks the law as a matter of course only coming up for air long enough to promise that they have learned their lesson and won't do it again. Both federal and state governments' routine response to this is to cower like an abuse victim and pretend like they believe their abuser's empty promises.

There is some truth to BP's defense of its Lisburne spill in saying that it is "unprecedented." No one should ever underestimate BP's gargantuan capacity for finding unprecedented ways to break the law.

Prosecutors aim to revoke BP probation: Prudhoe Bay Spill | Alaska news at

BP, the biggest oil field operator on Alaska's North Slope, has failed to fix pervasive management and environmental safety problems and is a repeat environmental offender, federal prosecutors said in a new court filing this week.

The federal government is seeking to revoke BP's probation on a criminal misdemeanor conviction from 2007 that arose from a huge spill in 2006. A hearing on the probation issue is set to begin Nov. 29.

BP found itself back in court after a subsequent spill in November 2009 on a pipeline near BP's Lisburne Production Center.

Prosecutors say the 2009 pipeline rupture and oil spill amounts to a new crime that violates the terms of BP's 2007 probation. The 2009 spill was "completely predictable and absolutely preventable," prosecutors say.

But BP says what happened in 2009 was unprecedented during its time operating such lines on the North Slope and that its probation should end.

"The 2009 spill vividly demonstrates that BP has not adequately addressed the management and environmental compliance problems that have plagued it for many years, and that continue to result in operational, process safety, and equipment failures," prosecutors say in the new filing. "BP's choices have been reckless, and further violations of state and federal law are the result."

"BP's history of environmental crimes in Alaska begins more than a decade ago," the new filing says.

In 2000, BP pleaded guilty to a felony for failing to immediately report illegal dumping of hazardous waste by a contractor at its Endicott oil field in Alaska's Beaufort Sea.

Six years later, in March 2006, BP was again under investigation after the biggest oil spill ever on the North Slope. Some 200,000 gallons leaked from a severely corroded Prudhoe Bay transit pipeline. BP pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor.

Meanwhile, outside of Alaska, BP remains under criminal investigation for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and led to a massive oil spill.

BP was still on probation when the Lisburne spill occurred in November 2009.

Excess pressure from expanding ice in a pipeline blew a 2-foot hole in the pipe. About 13,500 gallons of slushy oil spilled onto the tundra.

BP should have known there was a problem, prosecutors say. An alarm had signaled unusually low temperatures for six months before the spill. And in 2001, BP experienced a similar spill, involving a frozen line that ruptured. But BP failed to follow through on lessons learned from the 2001 spill and didn't put in place safety improvements at Lisburne, prosecutors said.

The government says the judge also will hear from a former BP employee, Phil Dziubinski, who served as BP's compliance and ethics officer after the 2006 spill until 2010.

Dziubinski has raised serious concerns about BP's management culture and operations, prosecutors said, repeating in their filing what he wrote in an April 2010 letter to prosecutors, BP's probation officer and others.

Budget constraints shortchanged maintenance and led to problems at the Lisburne Production Center, Dziubinski told the feds.

Dziubinski compared the cost challenges at Lisburne to those at BP's Texas City refinery, where BP was accused of neglecting worker safety and environmental safeguards to save money before a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people.

The 2009 spill is evidence "BP management lacks the capability to manage the integrity of the North Slope production facilities," Dziubinski concluded.

The probation hearing is expected to take at least four days and involve a number of BP employees testifying for the company.

Unless and until jail time is involved the judge's warning to BP to "give high priority to maintenance and maybe a little less priority on profits," is so much spitting in the wind. There is zero evidence that monetary fines have any impact on BP's business practices whatsoever.

From the prosecutors statement about frozen water in the pipeline it would appear that no one in BP has figured out that water just might freeze in Alaska. It's difficult to understand why BP even bothers with the pretense of hiring safety experts when BP will ignore anything experts say that would cost BP so much as a nickel.

Prosecutors seek to revoke BP's Alaska probation

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke BP's probation from a 2007 conviction for negligent discharge of oil, saying the company is a recidivist offender of environmental laws on Alaska's North Slope.

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. failed to heed a court's admonishment to "give high priority to maintenance and maybe a little less priority on profits," prosecutors said in a legal brief. They will make their case at hearing set to begin Nov. 29 in Anchorage.

The company followed a 200,000-gallon North Slope oil spill in 2006 -- the largest ever in Alaska's oil patch -- with a 13,500-gallon spill three years later.

"The cause of the 2009 oil spill was completely predictable and absolutely preventable," prosecutors said in the court filing. "BP simply failed to take adequate precautions and implement proper safeguards."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward said Wednesday that revocation of BP's probation could mean a lengthier probation or additional penalties for the company.

"The court can reopen sentencing on the original conviction," she said.

Prosecutors said in their brief that BP's history of environmental crimes in Alaska began in February 2001 when it pleaded guilty to releasing hazardous materials at its Endicott facility on the North Slope. The company was fined $500,000, placed on probation for five years and ordered to create a nationwide environmental management program, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors contend BP violated the conditions of its probation by allowing the 2009 spill from an 18-inch pipe moving oil, water and gas from drill pads to BP's Lisburne Processing Center. That spill, prosecutors said, leaked 13,500 gallons of oil onto tundra and wetlands.

"This rupture was the result of a predictable and preventable freezing of produced water within the pipeline that caused the pipe to over-pressurize and burst," prosecutors said.

It was eerily similar to the 2006 spill, prosecutors alleged, because BP ignored alarms that warned of the pipe's eventual rupture and leak. The 2009 spill also followed a similar pipe freezing and rupture in 2001, they said, and BP failed to put in place preventative measures that their own experts recommended.

It is disheartening to see a former government employee on the list of witnesses for BP.

I would love to see an explanation from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement why a company who can't fix a frozen pipe in fifteen days is even marginally qualified to competently handle the highly sophisticated technology required to do deepwater drilling in the Gulf.

BP’s probation showdown - November 20, 2011 - Petroleum News

Prosecutors: Alaska subsidiary was negligent in Lisburne spill, is repeat offender

In advance of an upcoming hearing on whether BP violated its criminal probation in Alaska, federal prosecutors and company lawyers on Nov. 14 filed briefs outlining their positions on the matter.

Prosecutors say a November 2009 pipeline rupture near BP’s Lisburne oil production center showed the company “has now proven itself to be a recidivist offender and repeated violator” of environmental laws and regulations.

The charges

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. is charged with two violations of the probation imposed on the company following a major pipeline leak in the Prudhoe Bay oil field in 2006. BP pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act in that case.

The first probation violation alleges BP violated Alaska law with a negligent discharge of a pollutant to state land and water.

The second probation violation alleges BP violated the Clean Water Act, which prohibits a pollutant discharge to “waters of the United States.”

The Justice Department says BP easily could have prevented a rupture in a pipeline, 18 inches in diameter, that carried a mix of crude oil, natural gas and water from well sites to the Lisburne facility.

The pipeline froze up and burst, and BP employees ignored warning alarms indicating a problem with the line, prosecutors say.

“The 2009 spill vividly demonstrates that BP has not adequately addressed the management and environmental compliance problems that have plagued it for many years, and that continue to result in operational, process safety, and equipment failures,” says the brief prosecutors filed Nov. 14. “These failures are not only reasonably foreseeable, but are also completely within BP’s power to control. BP’s choices have been reckless, and further violations of state and federal law are the result.”

BP operators discovered the no-flow condition of the pipeline on Nov. 14, 2009, but it ruptured 15 days later, before an assessment of how to deal with the problem was completed, BP says.

BP also intends to call John Studt, identified as a former national program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, to “explain why the spill site is not a ‘water of the United States’ and therefore falls outside of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.”

The government says its witness list includes a former BP employee who was “the Compliance and Ethics Officer for BP in Alaska following the 2006 oil spill, until 2010.”

The former employee wrote a letter to the government in April 2010 citing the management culture, budget constraints and other issues as possible factors in the Lisburne spill.

There was a report made to the National Response Center that BP's Texas City refinery had a sulfur dioxide leak. It was only several days later that BP officials deigned to meet with Texas City's director of homeland security, Bruce Clawson.

There is no indication in the story that anyone from the government actually had eyeballs on the problem. Despite the fact that BP is a serial lying lawbreaker and their refinery stunk up a quarter of the town Texas City residents are left to accept BP's explanation of the leak.

BP leak causes big stink in Texas City

Published November 16, 2011
TEXAS CITY — A leak of a substance added to natural gas to make it smell bad caused a big stink in Texas City on Tuesday.

There’s no gas leak, but the Mercaptan leaking from a tank at BP’s refinery caused an odor, officials said.

City and BP officials estimated the leak actually had been ongoing since the weekend, but thanks to shifting winds, the smell was at its worst Tuesday.

“(BP) has identified a tank on the western side of the plant as the source of the odor,” company spokesman Michael Marr said. “The tank has been isolated and site personnel will take steps to eliminate the odor.”

Specifically, the tank was emitting dimethyl disulphide, which is a form of Mercaptan. Colorless, odorless natural gas is treated with Mercaptan so leaks can be detected.

Bruce Clawson, the city’s director of homeland security, said the leak did not pose any danger to the community. There were no shelter-in-place or evacuation orders issued because of the leak, he said.

About a quarter of the town was covered in the smell, Clawson said.

The odor from the leak was extreme enough that more than 30 employees of neighboring Dow Chemical sought medical attention complaining of “various symptoms” at the company’s on-site health and wellness center, Dow spokeswoman Beth Dombrowa said.

Clawson expressed frustration that the leak apparently had been going on for up to three days and he had little response from BP officials as to what was leaking or what was being done to mitigate the leak.

He met with company officials several times Tuesday.

Marr said the report with the NRC, “did not go through the normal channels at BP,” but would not elaborate on who filed the report or if the report came from someone within the company.

The NRC filing claimed sulfur dioxide is what was leaking, but BP officials denied that aspect of the report.

Insurance litigation makes my eyes glaze over but Judge Barbier seems to be saying that the contract between Transocean and BP means that Transocean's insurers don't have to give BP money since the source of the spill was subsea.

BP Can’t Use Transocean Insurance for Oil Spill, Judge Rules

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc can’t use Transocean Ltd.’s insurance coverage to pay costs related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a judge in New Orleans ruled.

BP filed claims with Transocean’s carriers last year, seeking access to $750 million in coverage under multiple policies. Lloyd’s of London, along with other excess underwriters, and Ranger Insurance, Transocean’s primary insurer, opposed the claims, contending the rig owner’s contract with BP didn’t provide such coverage.

The carriers owe no duty to pay claims or defense costs to BP, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said today.

“The court finds that BP, under the drilling contract, assumed responsibility for Macondo well oil release pollution liabilities,” Barbier said in a 42-page ruling. “Because Transocean did not assume these liabilities, there is no additional insurance obligation in favor of BP for these liabilities.”

BP had agreed in its contract with Transocean that the rig’s owner wouldn’t be responsible for any pollution that originated below the surface of the land or water from spills, leaks or discharges, Lloyd’s argued in court papers. “Because liabilities BP faces for pollution emanating from BP’s well are from below the surface and from BP’s well, those liabilities are not within the scope of the additional insured protection,” Lloyd’s said in a 2010 filing.

“BP has the status of an insured for some purposes,” Barbier said in today’s ruling. “BP would have the court stop here and grant its motion: the drilling contract’s insurance provision provides that BP is an ‘insured.’”

The drilling contract “allocates to Transocean liabilities for pollution originating on or above the surface of the water,” Barbier said. “The Deepwater Horizon Incident entailed a subsurface release; thus, Transocean did not assume pollution liabilities arising from the incident.”

BP loses 2 big Gulf oil spill rulings
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP has lost two big rulings in its fight to shield itself from potentially having to pay billions of dollars more in damages related to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, though the company was able to limit some of its future exposure.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that BP PLC is not entitled to coverage for the spill under insurance policies totaling $750 million held by Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that BP was leasing at the time of last year's Gulf of Mexico disaster.
The same judge ruled Monday that Alabama and Louisiana can pursue punitive damages against BP and other companies.

The earlier ruling was not a total victory for Alabama and Louisiana: Barbier dismissed some claims in the lawsuits that were based on state laws. And any punitive damages ultimately levied may be limited.

The judge said many issues in Monday's ruling had been dealt with in an earlier order, including a provision that said maritime law was applicable in the case and that the Oil Pollution Act did not block claims under maritime law.

He said punitive damages may be available under maritime law because "the states have alleged physical injury to proprietary interests and the other elements pertinent to negligence and products liability claims."

Barbier also said the states can continue to seek damages under the Oil Pollution Act. However, he blocked claims each state sought under various state laws.

"The court is respectful of the states' desire to exercise their police powers and punish those who pollute their waters," Barbier wrote. But he noted that the source of the oil that damaged several state coastlines was not in any of those states, and he outlined several legal reasons why claims under state laws were pre-empted by federal law.

A spokeswoman for Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said the Monday ruling was being reviewed and that there were elements the state was disappointed by. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said his "primary concern regarding the oil spill is that BP and other defendants must be held responsible for the damage and harm caused to our states."

It's hard to understand why the Coast Guard is carrying BP's water and calling for an end to continuing cleanup efforts when BP had to clean up a half a ton of tar balls just a few days ago. Florida wasn't even one of the most heavily impacted areas.

Oil spill: BP finds oil on Perdido Key | Pensacola News Journal

BP cleanup crews recovered 1,253 pounds of tar balls mixed with shells near the Eden Condominium on Tuesday.

The deposit is one of the largest in recent weeks, Craig Savage, BP’s Florida District spokesman, said.

The deposit was near an area where several large tar mats were removed in the Gulf with a giant backhoe earlier this year.

Even though the state signed off on BP’s plans to wrap up cleanup operations last week, Escambia County has asked the oil giant to continue cleanup operations until there’s “zero” tar balls being found on county beaches.

PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!

Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:

11-14-11 03:00 PM Gulf Watchers Monday - BP Aghast: Stronger Damage Assessment Demanded - BP Catastrophe AUV #569 Yasuragi
11-04-11 06:29 PM Gulf Watchers Block Party--"Nothing is Impossible" Phil S 33
The last Mothership has links to reference material.

Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.

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