Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

In this March 31, 2015 photo, the wake of a supply vessel heading towards a working platform crosses over an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. Down to just one full-time employee, Taylor Energy Company exists for only one reason: to fight a Gulf of Mexico oil leak that has gone largely unnoticed, despite creating miles-long slicks for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Gulf Oil Spill You Never Heard About May Be the Largest Ever

The AP charges that Taylor Energy Company 'has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact'

Deirdre Fulton

While Gulf Coast residents and environmental groups focus on the upcoming five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a damning Associated Press investigation has exposed the lingering impacts of a separate 2004 leak in the Gulf of Mexico—one that few people know about, and one that is far worse than the industry wants to admit.

Taylor Energy Company, which formerly operated the oil platform that collapsed during Hurricane Ivan, "has downplayed the leak's extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs," according to AP journalists Michael Kunzelman and Jeff Donn.

The article, published Friday, continues:

[T]he spill is far worse than what Taylor—or the government—have publicly reported during their secretive, and costly, effort to halt the leak. Presented with AP's findings, that the sheen recently averaged about 91 gallons of oil per day across eight square miles, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company.

Outside experts say the spill could be even worse—possibly one of the largest ever in the Gulf.

According to the AP, "Taylor's oil was befouling the Gulf for years in obscurity before BP's massive spill in mile-deep water outraged the nation in 2010."

Yet "[E]ven industry experts haven't heard of Taylor's slow-motion spill, which has been leaking like a steady trickle from a faucet, compared to the fire hose that was BP's gusher."

The AP produced a video about the spill, which the news agency says "has no end in sight":


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Experts Warn Biden-Backed Aukus Deal Spells 'Disaster' for Climate Cooperation With China

One U.K. lawmaker said reaching a "positive outcome" at the upcoming talks in Glasgow "just got a whole lot harder."

Jon Queally ·


Patient Group Targets Pair of Democrats for 'Selling Us Out to Drug Companies'

"It makes me so angry that members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients. It's unforgivable."

Jake Johnson ·


Judge Blocks Biden From Continuing 'Inhumane' Trump Policy to Deport Families

"This is not the end of the battle against this practice," said one rights group, "but it is a major step to ensure that the U.S. welcomes these asylum-seeking families—as we should."

Jessica Corbett ·


400+ Economists Press Congress to Permanently Expand Child Tax Credit

Such an expansion would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," they said.

Andrea Germanos ·


Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass 'Imperiled' Polar Bears

"We're hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo