04 March 2013 – The offshore oil & gas industry has been operating in the Gulf of Mexico for the past 50 years. Onboard these facilities offshore in the Gulf , production operators oversee the operations of process vessels which separate the fluids which come from the reserves deep in the earth’s core.
Oil , Gas & Water are the fluids produced from these reserves, which come to surface and are then separated using process vessels which have separate ” process trains ” which separate oil from water & gas from water, Providing 2 sellable products Crude Oil and Natural Gas , with a byproduct Produced Water.
As the offshore industry has evolved chemicals have been introduced into the separation process which allows for better separation and a much more desirable finished product, which can then be sold to the offshore oil & gas pipeline transportation companies, which transport the finished product to the land based refineries along the gulf coast.
Produced water , containing oil , grease and chemicals is then discharged into the Gulf of Mexico waters. Federal regulations controls the daily limits of oil , grease and chemicals which can be discharged from individual offshore facilities in a uniform gulf wide practice.
These discharge limits have been evaluated by scientist and regulators as being acceptable for the environment and sea life , allowing the environment and sealife to remain healthy and viable, without any unrecoverable consequences.
In a recent federal court case , United States of America versus W&T Offshore , federal authorities proved that W&T was engaging in a gulfwide practice of polluting the environment and contaminating the sealife, by falsifying produced water water samples submitted to regulators for environmental testing.
Employees and contract employees of W&T unethically and criminally “filtered” produced water samples and removed excess oil , grease, and chemicals before submitting the sample for testing by regulatory agencies.
This enabled large amounts of oil, grease, and chemicals which are harmful to the environment to be discharged into the Gulf of Mexico waters and damage the gulf waters and sealife surrounding the individual offshore facility.
W&T Offshore operates 107 offshore facility, which federal authorities found proof of utilizing the same practice of illegally filtering produced water samples before submitting for testing.
Employees of W&T as well as the contract employees have come from a wide variety of larger and older offshore oil & gas companies which have been operating in the Gulf of Mexico for much greater time over a larger time span, utilizing these same practices at other companies across the Gulf of Mexico on offshore oil & gas facilities, pollutting the gulf waters and contaminating the sealife surrounding the offshore facilities.
It is common practice for the personnel onboard these offshore facilities to refrain from fishing the waters around the offshore facility and will not eat fish from the waters surrounding their facility. However these same men will stand along the hand railing on the facility and watch fishing and shrimping boats catch seafood which is sold and consumed along the gulf coast as well as nationwide.
The horrifying truth is offshore oil & gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico are pollutting the Gulf of Mexico and contaminating the seafood life with dangerous chemicals, which we the general public along the gulf coast and the nation are consuming with disasterous affects on our health.
Offshore personnel onboard offshore oil & gas facilities operating in the Gulf of Mexico cannot be trusted to collect and submit for regulatory testing the monthly overboard produced water sample for regulatory testing.
Over the past 50 years this unethical , immoral and criminal practice by offshore industry personnel in the Gulf of Mexico has gone unchecked by both the corporations who reap huge profits from the practice as well as the regulatory agencies who are not fufilling their duty to protect the personnel , the environment and the equipment.
Currently the truth of the extent of the pollution and contamination are unknown, and with that the health of the Gulf of Mexico , the seafood from the Gulf and the individuals who consume the seafood from the Gulf.
It is evident that our Gulf of Mexico is sick , how sick is unknown , is recovery possible ? All sickness has the possibility to recover , however DEATH is nonrecoverable. If the offshore oil & gas companies are allowed to continue unchecked in this horriffic and immoral practice the Gulf of Mexico will become polluted to a point where recovery will by impossible, and with that the death of the gulf seafood industry , the beach vacation industry, as well as many individuals who consume seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
*Randy Comeaux, examiner.com