Once again an airline pilot (or observant passenger) has reported seeing a fire in the Gulf of Mexico. This was reported to the National Response Center at about 8:19 pm on November 6, at a location in the deepwater Gulf about 12 miles southeast of the site of last year’s BP oil spill. It’s also about 11 miles north of a fire reported on September 26 that we covered in this blog.
We think these observers may be seeing flaring of natural gas during drilling operations. We’re not sure what, if any, drilling activity is occurring here right now (if you know, please let us know!). If they are flaring “commercial quantities” of natural gas, that could be illegal – Shell got busted for doing this a few years back in the Gulf at their deepwater Auger platform about 140 miles offshore, and got fined to the tune of $49 million by the US government.
We don’t know if that’s what is happening here. But we wonder if anyone at BOEMRE is paying attention to this.