Eighteen years ago, in September 2004, Taylor Energy’s MC20 oil production platform collapsed in an underwater mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan, spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico from the well site.

The platform was located in the Gulf, 13 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River. Today, crude oil continues to discharge from the well site and surface on the Gulf waters.

This week marks the milestone of more than one million gallons of oil collected and removed from the environment by the Coast Guard.

An oil containment system was designed, created and installed in 2019 by Couvillion Group LLC, the Belle Chasse, La.-company selected and hired by the Coast Guard. While the spill remains active, the containment system captures oil as it emerges under the surface and experts continue to work on a permanent solution. The highly effective containment system, daily Coast Guard oversight and scientific support from NOAA and other federal agencies made this milestone possible.

In December 2021, the U.S. and Taylor Energy reached a $16.5 million settlement for restoration. In March 2022, more than $432 million from Taylor Energy’s Decommissioning Trust went to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to fund ongoing efforts to plug the well and stop the spill. Also, on March 18, 2022, after a public commenting period, the settlement was finalized in Federal District Court, with $16.5 million of this finalized settlement going towards projects that restore the natural resources affected by the Taylor Energy oil spill. 

NOAA provides scientific support to the Coast Guard for this and other oil spills, by helping to estimate flow rates, detecting oil slicks, monitoring the site  and assessing impacts of spill pollution on marine life and the public and to reach financial settlements that fund restoration.

A collection of stories from guest authors.