Taylor Energy Oil Spill Becoming Nation's Worst After 14-Year Leak
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon erupted into flames after repeated neglect caused the offshore oil rig to explode. The disaster claimed the lives of 11 workers and injured 17 more. The well beneath the rig leaked for months and polluted the Gulf of Mexico with over 4.9 million barrels of oil.
It was the worst oil spill in history—at least it was at the time. The Taylor oil spill, which started 6 years before the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, has been leaking oil for 14 years and now rivals the landmark environmental disaster.
How the Leak Began
The Taylor oil spill began in 2004 as Hurricane Ivan made its way across the Gulf of Mexico. As it approached the coast of Louisiana, Ivan destroyed Taylor Energy Ltd.’s Mississippi Canyon 20-A platform. An under-water landslide caused by massive waves destroyed the platform. For 14 years, the oil wells located at the site of the doomed rig leaked between 300 and 700 barrels of oil each day. Taylor Energy eventually left a $450 million trust with the federal government for cleaning up the spill and repairing the wreckage.
Since 2004, wells have gushed up to 29,400 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The worst part? Taylor Energy has known about the leak since it began.
How the Spill Was Found
The Taylor Oil spill went mostly undetected by the public for 6 years. It was discovered by chance by environmental watchdog groups while they were surveying the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon. After being sued by a collection of environmental protection groups in 2015, Taylor Energy was finally forced to lift the veil of secrecy it had maintained about the spill since 2004. It kept details regarding the severity of the leak to protect its reputation and to conceal proprietary information about how it operates.
In September, the United States Department of the Interior released an independent report revealing that the spill was far worse than 55-barrel leak initially reported to the Coast Guard by Taylor Energy. The independent report found oil amounts that exceeded the estimates provided by the oil company on the same day. What was Taylor Energy’s response to these findings? They sued for the $450 million trust they originally paid to clean up the spill in the first place.
A History of Dishonesty
The actions taken by Taylor Energy to conceal the scope of this disaster come as no surprise to the offshore accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin. We have seen a repeating pattern on the part of large oil companies to place the blame on anyone but themselves after a severe disaster.
After the Deepwater Horizon **exploded, offshore companies attempted to blame the rig’s crew for the disaster. Arnold & Itkin represented over one-third of the Deepwater Horizon crew; we refused to let the most profitable companies in the world blame their own employees for a massive, preventable tragedy.
After 14 years of uncontrolled leaking, Arnold & Itkin hopes that the area can recover from the destructive effects of persistently leaking oil.