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Researchers find more oil in Gulf of Mexico

by Jorge Hernandez on October 25, 2010

Less than a month after Federal officials claimed oil in the Gulf of Mexico had disappeared, two research vessels studying the spill have reportedly found substantial amounts of oil not far from the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, reports USA Today.

Scientists aboard two ships, the Cape Hatteras and the Arctic Sunrise, found oil sediment samples around the site of the Macondo well, 50 miles off Louisiana's coast. Though they have yet to determine that oil came from the BP leased well, the amount of oil and its proximity to the well site make the possibility extremely likely.

Federal officials claimed the oil had evaporated or was devoured by oil-eating microbes.

The discrepancy between Federal and academic scientists' findings may be due to a difference in their inspection processes. If lowered too quickly, machinery can disperse the oil particles and scientists would be unable to detect them, Samantha Joye, a marine sciences professor told USA Today.

In an August report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it concluded that 74 percent of the oil was recovered, evaporated or naturally dispersed, according to Christian Science Monitor. Soon afterwards however, NOAA retracted the finality of its statement and said its research was a work in progress.

When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded earlier this year, it released more than 100 million gallons of oil before it was sealed. The spill was the nation's worst spill in history, having caused an environmental crisis and killed 11 people.

On September 19 BP claimed it had permanently capped the well.

However, the oil spill's cleanup is far from complete. NASDAQ reported today that the Gulf's marshes and beaches appear to be far from clear of oil contamination and clean-up will run through winter.

The U.S. House recently passed a bill that would tighten restrictions on companies drilling in the gulf before issuing them permits, reports the New York Times. The bill is currently waiting Senate passage.

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