BP said Hurricane Isaac uncovered many buried Gulf Coast beach tarballs

Tarballs found on Gulf Coast beaches after Hurricane Isaac hit last month included oil from the 2010 spill from BP’s Macondo well, cleanup officials said Tuesday afternoon.

Mike Utsler, president of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, acknowledged that some of the reported oil deposits on beaches across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama contained  Macondo oil, while other deposits are from some of the 90 recently reported oil spills in the Gulf.

He said that a 2010 storm, Tropical Storm Bonnie, pushed oil and sand onto the beach, burying some of the oil deposits that have now been uncovered by Hurricane Isaac.  Utsler and his team have spent the last 29 months cleaning beaches on  behalf of BP.

“Isaac has provided us opportunities to see additional Macondo oil,” Utsler said. “This is not a tale about Isaac, it is a tale of three hurricane seasons. Isaac helped to uncover those very tarmats and tar sands that were covered by Bonnie.”

Utsler also said that a result of the storm, his teams now may have access to deep-clean ecologically sensitive areas that had been inaccessible prior to the storm, and have asked for permission to do so.

The Gulf Coast Restoration Organization was established by BP in 2010 to manage BP’s response to the Macondo disaster. It is responsible for all Gulf Coast clean-up operations related to the spill for keeping the public informed of BP’s clean-up activities.