Federal officials are instructing oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to conduct underwater monitoring to assess the origin of a 10-mile stretch of oil sheen that is located near two of its platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The US Coast Guard spotted the sheen Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement sent a helicopter to confirm the sheen, located about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans.
Where the sheen originated, its density, and composition are still not known. BSEE instructed Shell to send remote-operated vehicles to investigate nearby wells that Shell does not own but are permanently plugged, as well as surrounding areas in the Gulf that are known to produce natural seeps.