*Update* Coast Guard investigating a sheen off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana


Sunday evening the U.S. Coast Guard reported samples taken from the sheen and analyzed by labs appeared to have “only trace amounts of petroleum hydrocarbons, oil and grease. …. At this point, the dark substance is believed to be caused by a tremendous amount of sediment being carried down the Mississippi River due to high water, possibly further agitated by dredging operations.”

Some of the substance has started to come ashore at Elmer Isle, Fourchon Beach and Grand Isle. The Coast Guard has hired ES&H to begin cleaning up the impacted shorelines and has boom standing by to deploy if needed.

As of Sunday night the Coast Guard said it did not believe the substance was related to last summer’s Deepwater Horizon spill.

A spokeswoman for W&T said Monday morning the company’s Matterhorn facility was not leaking and had no role in the incident.


The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a 5-mile-wide sheen spotted on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Grand Isle, La.

A rainbow sheen was first reported at about 9:34 a.m. Saturday, with two more reports following, including one that said the sheen extended from six miles off the coast of Grand Isle to 100 miles out into the Gulf.

A Coast Guard helicopter was able to confirm there was a substance on the surface but was diverted for a search and rescue case and unable to investigate further, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard Cutter Pompano has been sent to the scene to gather a sample, but Petty Officer Casey Ranel said late Saturday it wasn’t clear if the ship would be able to complete its work in the dark.

Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in an e-mail Saturday her agency is awaiting notification from either the Coast Guard or an operator before deciding whether it will send its own inspectors offshore to investigate. Such a decision will most likely be made Sunday morning, she said.

A number of other online items on Saturday seem to indicate the spill is beginning in a different area, however, the block known as Mississippi Canyon 243. That’s the location of the Matternhorn platform, which serves a tie-in for a number of different fields in the ara.

Calls to Matterhorn’s operator, W&T Offshore, were not returned as of Saturday night.

Tom Fowler

56 Responses

  1. Indianpaintbrush says:

    The update reiterates , yet again, that the bulk of any pollution found in the Gulf comes from the Mississippi River.

  2. Indianpaintbrush says:

    drod, jump to conclusions often?

  3. Robert says:

    This article is striking mainly for its vagueness- and is buried on page 12 of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. As the Chronicle is the biggest paper covering the oilpatch, they should be on top of what is happening more than anyone. A Piper Cub burns 4.5 gallons of gas/hour- for under $100 bucks they could have had Tom Fowler see for himself what is going on

    • Tom Fowler says:

      I was asked to try and track down this story at around 8 p.m. Sat. night. It wasn’t until about 9:45 that I was able to get a call back from the Coast Guard with the details — so it was a late addition to the print paper. Just updated online with an update the USCG put out late on Sunday. Essentially not a lot of oil in mass that they’ve sampled.
      I seriously doubt someone would fly me out over the Gulf for $100. Grand Isle is about 400 miles away via car. Spending a day in plane there-and-back to look at dark patches on the water that I sure as heck couldn’t analyze from the air would be a pretty ridiculous way to spend a Sunday.

  4. drod says:

    W T Offshore rig is now polluting the gulf, thank you republitards for thinking you could continue to drill offshore. This stuff has to stop. Your time is up and we will not re- elect you any more. The lies stop here.

  5. Adler says:

    To Xane and CJ, most of the oil sheens in the Gulf come from large ships dumping their bilges. The USCG and EPA both know this, and have issued annual reports showing volumes that various sources contribute. Go ahead and look them up before pointing fingers.

    Odd how the sheen occurs right where ships are allowed to start dumping their bilges, yet no-one bothers to mention that. And the fact that MC 243 lies in a direct route out of the South Pass to the Mississippi River seems to be missing.

    • Tom Fowler says:

      That’s a really interesting point about the route. Is there a certain mile limit where the bilges can be released?

  6. Signal2Noise says:

    Thanks W&T for proving that the industry still has (1) zero credibility in safe/clean offshore operations and (2) total amnesty from supporters to continue operate business as usual.

  7. KaliGhoulish says:

    I hope they find the source soon.
    ……And to the few that are having issues with the drilling, how else are we to mine the petroleum?
    We will always need that. It’s not only used for fuel but for the majority of the products we use in our everyday lives……besides the fact that, Texas thrives when the industry is doing well.

  8. Sharlie Cheen says:

    Rumor has it that Afro “Sheen” is more popular today since goofball in HollyWeird!

  9. Canne says:

    I anxiously await our president’s comments – from the 7th hole.

  10. Slim Chance says:

    First, the actor Charlie Sheen is in the news and now his brother “Earl Sheen”. I wish things about the sheens would just go away, but we need the ‘Earl” and nobody gives a dink about the world of the Gulf. Good luck, lost world of the Gulf, life is getting tough everywhere.

  11. Petroleum eng says:

    Xane, speaking of dumbest people alive, you win the grand prize.

  12. MichaelVJozwiak says:

    What a slick title.; I was wondering what Charlie Sheen was doing off the coast of Louisiana besides getting in trouble

  13. DMB says:

    Glad they changed the headline from the paper I was reading, I thought Charlie was doing a ‘cruise’.

  14. saved says:

    As we see the increase of wars and rumors of wars we will also see the increase of natural and man made disasters.

  15. Indianpaintbrush says:

    “Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in an e-mail Saturday her agency is awaiting notification from either the Coast Guard or an operator before deciding whether it will send its own inspectors offshore to investigate. Such a decision will most likely be made Sunday morning, she said.”
    This is what I hate about the FEDS. After the worst drilling accident in history, they supposedly “clean house and get their act together”, and yet, here we are watching some bureaucrat sit on his behind, twiddling his thumbs,waiting for a “notification” , instead of showing any signs of leadership or independent thought and getting out there to see what the heck is going on. They can rename the agency, but it doesn’t seem to have changed anything else.

  16. C J n Cut n Shoot says:

    All you oilfield trash are so funny with the Charlie Sheen crap – there is potentially another problem with another of your wells and polluting the environment in the G of M. This could be serious business and it is not time to be joking and playing the fiddle.

  17. Argh ! says:

    There is no difference. Charlie the mess and an oily mess are often confused . Both are huge messes that can’t be cleaned up.

  18. Bryan says:

    I bet it’s a warlock, tigersblood sheen !!!!

  19. buttercup says:

    This is the wimp Presidents fault..He had the local Oil industries sabotaged while he is with this Dictator buddies in Rio..under the pretense of being on Vacation yet again.

    He is worthless scum.

  20. ken says:

    WINNING, duh!!!!!!

  21. Judy says:

    I was wondering why Charlie Sheen would be off the coast of Grand Isle LA….MY BAD!!!!….but I see Im not the only one that was confused!!!

  22. texaschickeee says:

    I think everyone thinks that. I was going to recommended shooting him for the safety of the public.

  23. tj0331tx says:

    “Oil” Sheen must be a relative of Charlie’s. Those headline writers DO have a sense of humor!

  24. XLIBERALFOOL says:

    “Sheen spotted off coast of Louisiana”
    What’s that drug addicted, Obamaphile doing off the coast of Louisiana? Send him back home to Cali!

  25. S Ray says:

    Definitely thought this was about Charlie Sheen

  26. FloLake says:

    Dang. For a fleeting moment, I envisioned Charlie Sheen floating face down in the Gulf…

  27. JJ says:

    I thought oh Charlie was making headlines again!

  28. prd says:

    Was that headline wording deliberate? My first thought was “who cares”?

  29. Firmgrip says:

    Oh, it’s only oil. Happy its not that idiot from California poluting the gulf like he does the airwaves.

    • Tom Fowler says:

      Given the reaction Charlie Sheen is getting from readers, maybe he should have been used in the gulf spill last year. It seems Tiger Blood is more powerful than Corexit.

  30. KB says:

    So did I…it’s all we hear…Charlie Sheen. Shows the attention span of the American public. It lasts for a day with real issues. Then, it’s over.

  31. JD says:

    Same here… I thought they were talking about wacked out Charlie Sheen.

  32. TC says:

    bulldog I thought the same thing, I don’t feel so stupid now.

  33. Jim says:

    Me too, I was wondering what the heck he was getting into now..LOL

  34. canuhabu says:

    I was like, wtf is he doing there?

  35. Texaggie79 says:

    HAHA, I was totally tricked too.

  36. brian and stewie says:

    What the heck. I thought you were talking about Charlie Sheen!!!

  37. will says:

    Me too. Which is pretty freaking sad.

  38. Regan says:

    way to try to get in the new again . sheen!!!

  39. Toocan says:

    Oh. I thought they meant Charlie Sheen

  40. xane says:

    oh I thought it was charlie.

    the gulf will turn into a tar pit if we don’t get away from petroleum for fuel.

    as we all know, the drilling companies hire morons to drill. they get stupider and lazier when kno one is watching and next thing you know…ooops.

    I mean most of the dumbest people I have ever met were petroleum engineers. aggie petroleum engineers.
    now these are the same people who thought a big wooden bonfire was a great idea. and climbing around on the bonfire was even cooler.

    so all the old wells and garbage in the guld, its a wonder there are any fuish left in the gulf at all.

  41. Babs says:

    As in Charlie Sheen?

  42. ModerateChuck says:

    Is that Charlie Sheen or Martin Sheen??? Oh, it is Oily Sheen. That family is in trouble everywhere!!!

  43. glove says:

    I thought they spotted Charie Sheen stranded off the coast of Louisana in a pleasure boat with porn stars, booze and drugs. Headline should have read “oil” sheen.

  44. Art Vandeley says:

    Well at least the President is on vacation and on the golf course in South America and can’t impose Gulf Drilling Ban #2………not that Gulf Drilling Ban @1 has ever been lifted.

  45. Lucy says:

    Bulldog, You weren’t the only one who thought that.

  46. Dan Harbaugh says:

    I thought Sheen was in enough trouble after getting booted off his TV show?

  47. jaime says:

    i second the first comment i thought this was a charlie sheen sighting LMAO

  48. FranksnBeans3 says:

    bulldog, you beat me…dang!

  49. FranksnBeans3 says:

    Heck, I thought they were talking about that goofball Charlie!

  50. Barbara says:

    Me too.

  51. RangerJim says:

    Bulldog, that was exactly my first thought as well!

  52. bulldog says:

    Oh. I thought they were talking about Charlie.