07/29/2010 02:56 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Spill Media Response: Where's The Oil?

Seems like only a hundred or so days ago that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, causing a massive oil-spill volcano to belch millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and all over the shores and beaches and marshes of the Gulf Coast states. But now that the well is capped, we have a mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot: where did the oil go? No one seems to know! From the AFP:

With BP's broken well in the Gulf of Mexico finally capped, the focus shifts to the surface clean-up and the question on everyone's lips is: where is all the oil?

For three long months a massive slick threatened the shorelines of Louisiana and other southern US Gulf Coast states as BP tried everything from top hats to junk shots and giant domes to stanch the toxic sludge.

A cap stopped the flow on July 15 after between three and 5.2 million barrels (117.6 million and 189 million gallons) had gushed out. Roughly one quarter of that was picked up by BP's various collection and containment systems.

After frantic efforts to skim and burn the crude on the surface -- some 34.7 million gallons of oil-water mix have been recovered and 411 burns have been conducted -- the real difficulty now is finding any oil to clean up.

Oil-spill ace reporter Mac McClelland responds: "I don't know who the fuck these everyones are, but I'm happy to help out them, and ABC, and this AFP reporter writing that due to BP's stunningly successful skimming and burning efforts, 'the real difficulty now is finding any oil to clean up.'"

She subsequently sent a pair of Blackberry messages, one to Bloomberg's Lizzie O'Leary on Grand Isle, the other to Drew Wheelan of the American Birding Association -- who you may remember as the gentleman who was hassled and tailed by part of BP's media-security apparatus.

O'Leary's message back: "Lower part past the barrier untouched with globs of oil that washed up last night." Wheelan responded by saying that there was a "20 feet by 15" tar mat on Grand Terre, and that "bigger ones" were "submerged slightly."

Submerged slightly. Let's hold that thought, as we cast our minds back to mid-June, when the Case Of The Missing Oil was actually solved in advance.

WWLTV in Louisiana:

"The dispersants caused a lot of this oil to sink," said Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young. "We're told as the water gets warmer then the oil will rise to the top, and that's why it has that dark black crude look and feel to it."

And here's Plaquemines Parish President Bill Nungusser, discussing how the dispersants were causing the oil to sink to the bottom of Barataria Bay:

That AFP report cited by McClelland states: "Dozens of reconnaissance planes fly constant sorties from Florida to Texas noting any oil sightings." I wonder why that is?

Mainstream Media Helps BP Pretend There's No Oil [Mother Jones]

[Hat Tip: Florida Oil Spill Law]

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