Private, public effort contains 1 million gallons of oil at longest U.S. spill

Photol of research vessel at the Taylor Energy oil spill site offshore of Louisiana pre-containment
Research vessel at the Taylor Energy oil spill site offshore of Louisiana pre-containment. (NOAA)

Eighteen years ago, Taylor Energy’s MC20 oil production platform collapsed in an underwater mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan, spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico from the well site. This week marks the milestone of more than one million gallons of oil collected and removed from the environment by the U.S. Coast Guard.

An oil containment system was designed, created, and installed in 2019 by Couvillion Group, LLC, a company selected and hired by the U.S. Coast Guard. While the spill remains active, the containment system captures oil as it emerges under the surface and experts continue to work on a permanent solution. The highly effective containment system, daily U.S. Coast Guard oversight and scientific support from NOAA and other federal agencies made this milestone possible.

In December 2021, the United States and Taylor Energy reached a $16.5 million settlement for restoration. In 2022, more than $432 million from Taylor Energy’s Decommissioning Trust went to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to fund ongoing efforts to stop the spill. 

NOAA continues to provide scientific support to the U.S. Coast Guard for this and other oil spills, by helping to estimate flow rates, detecting oil slicks, monitoring the site  and assessing impacts of spill pollution on marine life and the public and to reach financial settlements that fund restoration

For more information, see the U.S. Coast Guard press release on this milestone.

Illustrations of how the Taylor MC20 Platform in the Gulf of Mexico appeared before and after damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The third panel shows the containment system installed to capture oil from persistent leaks. (September 2019 - Gulf of Mexico).
Illustrations of how the Taylor MC20 Platform in the Gulf of Mexico appeared before and after damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The third panel shows the containment system installed to capture oil from persistent leaks. (September 2019 - Gulf of Mexico). (NOAA/Kate Sweeney)

 

Media contacts: 

Jennie Lyons, jennie.lyons@noaa.gov, 202-603-9372
Alison Gillespie, alison.gillespie@noaa.gov, 202-713-6644