Appearing on no less than three major networks Wednesday, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles continued to deny the existence of oil plumes underneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
Suttles’ comments came despite the fact that government and university scientists confirmed Tuesday they had found large plumes of oil, according to The New York Times.
The tests, the first detailed chemical analyses of water from the deep sea, show that some of the most toxic components of the oil are not necessarily rising to the surface where they can evaporate, as would be expected in a shallow oil leak. Instead, they are drifting through deep water in plumes or layers that stretch as far as 50 miles from the leaking well…
Scientists outside the government noted that the plumes appeared to be so large that organisms might be bathed in them for extended periods, possibly long enough to kill eggs or embryos. They said this possibility added greater urgency to the effort to figure out exactly how sea life was being affected, work that remains in its infancy six weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.
“There’s yet to be anyone who has found any significant quantities below the surface. Whether that’s just below the surface, or at deep levels,” Suttles told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas.
“We’re hearing scientists say there are huge plumes below the surface. Are you denying that still?” Vargas asked.
“Well, what I can tell you is, no one yet has found any concentrations that measured below the parts — or higher than parts per million. So I think it may be depending on how you’re defining this. But what I can tell you — and I looked at this data — is that we have not found any significant concentration of oil below the surface,” replied Suttles.
Suttles seems to be echoing comments made by BP CEO Tony Hayward last week.
“The oil is on the surface,” said Hayward. “There aren’t any plumes.”
This video is from ABC’s Good Morning America, broadcast June 9, 2010.