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Rapid Response Study Characterizes Behaviors of Accidental Short-Term Oil Blowouts

August 26, 2016
An interdisciplinary scientific team conducted a rapid response sampling campaign in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Hercules 265 blowout to determine if sediment and fish were polluted above established baseline levels.

Surface sediments and fish bile analyses suggested that the blowout transported and deposited an increased concentration of Hercules-derived hydrocarbons to the environment. They found that high molecular weight (HMW) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in sediment samples decreased as distance from the rig increased, while HMW PAH metabolites in red snapper bile nearly doubled compared to the previous year. The team published their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans: Tracking the Hercules 265 marine gas well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

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