Robotic cameras find unknown substance leaking from Deepwater site in Gulf of Mexico

May be cause of sheen on water

GULF OF MEXICO - Robotic cameras peering at an undersea well near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion found no leaking oil but did spot an unidentified substance, government officials said.

Several remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) were investigating the recurring sheen found on Gulf of Mexico waters near the MC 252 wellhead.

The ROVs inspected the sunken Deepwater Horizon Platform wreckage and surrounding area. No sources of leaking oil were identified, said a joint government task force handling the cleanup.

An unidentified substance inconsistent with oil, however, was seen emitting from several areas of the rig wreckage, and samples were collected for further lab analysis.

"No apparent source of the surface sheen has been discovered by this effort," said Capt. Duke Walker, Federal On-Scene Coordinator for Deepwater Horizon.

"Next steps are being considered as we await the lab results of the surface and subsurface samples, and more detailed analysis of the video shot during the mission," Walker added.

Satellite surveillance will continue to monitor the sheen while future steps are being considered.

Located 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, the Deepwater Horizon rig sank after an April 20, 2010, explosion.

The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, contaminating estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting large areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.

The real-time ROV operations were observed remotely by the Coast Guard, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, BP Oil, Transocean and state coordinators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

Also, the Coast Guard had observers onboard the Olympic Triton, which launched and controlled the ROVs during the operation.

Video of the ROV inspections can be found at the following links:

** http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=1861633

** http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=1861630

** http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=1861396

** http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=1861393

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