Study: Methane from Gulf oil spill lingered

Study: Methane from Gulf oil spill lingered

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizons 126 person crew after an explosion and fire caused the crew to evacuate.

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Associated Press

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:52 AM

GALVESTON -- Research by several universities has found that thousands of tons of methane gas released into the Gulf of Mexico by the epic 2010 oil spill lingered longer than expected.

The study by researchers from Texas A&M University at Galveston and other universities found that microbes expected to consume almost all of the gas released into the deep Gulf didn't remove the gas as quickly and efficiently as expected. The natural process has eliminated much of the gas, but at a slower rate than expected.

Methane concentrations rose to more than 40,000 times normal levels after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The findings are published in the current edition of Nature Geoscience.

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