Abandoned Pipelines From the 1960s Remain on Gulf of Mexico Floor, Report Finds


Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

The industry has essentially recovered none of the pipelines laid in the Gulf in the last six decades; the abandoned infrastructure accounts for more than 97% of all of the decommissioned pipelines in the Gulf.

The pipelines pose a threat to the habitat around them, as maritime commerce and hurricanes and erosion can move sections of pipeline.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement does not conduct undersea inspections even though surface monitoring is “not always reliable for detecting ruptures,” according to the GAO.

For a deeper dive:

E&E, Wall Street Journal

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