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October 16, 2012

Robot Submarine to Investigate BP Oil Spill Aftermath

In 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, unleashing the largest oil spill in history. Now, two years later, a robotic submarine has been dispatched to investigate a mysterious oil sheen on the surface of the water near the disaster site.

The Coast Guard investigated the sheen and was able to match oil from it to the oil that had gushed from the well in 2010. After alerting BP and its partner Transocean, the world’s largest deepwater driller, the Coast Guard was unsure whether the sheen represented a new leak or perhaps oil that had been trapped in the wreckage of the rig or in debris on the ocean floor.

In an effort to investigate the sheen, BP and Transocean will dispatch a robotic submarine to gather more data. The remotely operated vehicles will investigate the seafloor infrastructure and analyze debris at the Deepwater Horizon site. The federal government has warned the companies that they will be held responsible for additional costs that may arise from cleaning up the sheen.

"As it has done from the beginning, BP will continue to work closely with the Coast Guard and other federal agencies to investigate potential sources of the sheen," said BP spokesman Brett Clanton.

A representative from the Coast Guard stated that the robotic submarine is working in the vicinity of the sheen and in tandem with offshore supply vessels. The Coast Guard staff is responsible for analyzing images provided by the robot.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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