Grand Isle Oil Spill – More Than 4 Gallons?

IF our analysis of the March 22, 2011 MODIS satellite image is correct, and we assume the apparent oil slick on that image is on average only 1 micron — one millionth of a meter — thick, then that roughly 2,427 km2 oil slick held at least 640,728 gallons.

That would make it a major spill (more than 100,000 gallons), and a heckuva lot more than the 4 gallons in total that was reported to the National Response Center. But not unexpected if the Anglo-Suisse well the Coast Guard has pegged as the source was actually leaking for three days (rather than 4-6 hours), as this news report suggested:

Wildlife and Fisheries officials found the source of the oil Monday evening and encountered workers in a boat trying to restore a cap on the well using a remotely operated submarine.

“Well-capping went out of control,” the state official said.

The spill was first reported to the NRC at about 8pm on Friday, March 18, three full days before the Louisiana officials came across the continuing effort to plug this well.