BP, Transocean will search for source of spill-related oil

BP and Transocean will use satellite images and remotely operated vehicles to determine the origin of an oil sheen discovered last month  and linked this week to the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the Coast Guard said Friday night.

The remotely operated vehicles will go into action early next week, examining wreckage around the site of BP’s Macondo well a mile below the Gulf of Mexico surface off the coast of Louisiana. The well blew out April 20, 2010, causing an explosion that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and killed 11 workers.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon.

The rig  sank after the explosion and fire, and its wreckage lies near the well site, along with other debris from equipment used in the three months BP and others fought to contain the well before finally capping it.

The oil sheen first appeared Sept. 16, and analysis showed it matched oil from the Macondo well. BP has said it suspects the oil may be from the riser, a pipe that once connected the wellhead and the Deepwater Horizon. The company said it does not believe the oil is leaking from the well itself, which drillers intercepted with a relief well and sealed with cement.

Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker ordered BP and Transocean to identify the source of a sheen, and the Coast Gaurd will oversee the operations, it said in a news release.