Taylor Energy cannot provide a definitive comment on the 2018 study of the MC-20 site outlined in a report released by NOAA on June 24, 2019 until the Government provides the underlying data necessary to verify or challenge the findings.
However, of note, the NOAA-sponsored report misrepresents a 2018 analysis1 prepared for the Unified Command (not Taylor Energy, as the NOAA report incorrectly claims) to wrongly state Taylor Energy’s position on the volume of oil. That 2018 analysis examined a theory of the potential volume of oil that might be released if a well was active. It did not address the separate question of total volumes or sheen volumes.
Unfortunately, this has led to news reports erroneously stating that “the company has claimed that less than three gallons a day were seeping out.” Taylor Energy has made no such claims. Rather, the fact is that Taylor Energy has and continues to publish on a regular basis the observed volume of oil on the ocean’s surface relying on a methodology prescribed by Coast Guard and pursuant to Unified Command directives. These data can be found on the MC-20 Response website.
Furthermore, Taylor Energy believes it is impossible to draw sound conclusions based on just seven days of field data while ignoring years of data collected and cited by the Unified Command. Moreover, the activities of the researchers in this study quite likely disturbed the sediment at the MC-20 site which, as past experience shows, causes an abnormal, larger release of oil. Overflight records show a spike in the sheen volume during the time of these field activities. In short, an examination over such a short period, particularly when the sediment is disturbed, would distort normal conditions at the site and lead to false conclusions.
Taken together, these flaws would suggest the findings of the report released by NOAA are scientifically suspect.
The issues of volumes and sources of oil emanating from the MC-20 site are complex, and Taylor Energy is concerned with the Government’s seemingly ‘fire-ready-aim’ approach to addressing these questions as well as its failure to act in a transparent manner.
Beyond this particular report, the Government has refused to share with Taylor Energy verifiable scientific information or data regarding the work the Government commissioned related to the MC-20 site, despite Taylor Energy’s multiple requests.
It is unprecedented that Taylor Energy, as the designated Responsible Party, is forced to file Freedom of Information Act requests for such information. Even worse, those requests have been largely ignored.
Taylor Energy remains committed to its role as the Responsible Party and continues to advocate for a response that is grounded in science and prioritizes the well-being of the environment.
# # #