The Louisiana spill: where did all the oil go?

A documentary by Arnaud Muller
First broadcast October 21, 2010 on France 2

It’s the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Nearly 800 million litres of crude oil spewed out into the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the most baffling. Few coasts affected, few birds coated in crude and oil that seems to have disappeared from the surface of the water. A team from the PREMIERES LIGNES News Agency got as close as it could to the invisible spill. With the fishermen hired by BP to help clean up the area. With independent scientists who are investigating the presence of a huge cloud of oil floating near the bottom of the ocean. With the survivors and families of victims of the explosion who have filed a lawsuit against BP for negligence. With an environmental NGO that, since the accident, has been trying to find out where the crude oil went. With a local journalist, who was prevented from filming oil pollution on the beaches by BP’s security guards. The oil company has locked down all communication. Arnaud Muller and Thierry Vivier also investigate the chemical dispersants used in massive amounts, at least 7 million tons, which are revealed for the first time to be now floating in a layer 1500 metres below the surface. The journalists visited the factory that manufactures the chemical and met with the independent scientists who have studied its toxicity. They also spoke with the U.S. federal authorities that gave their approval for the use of the dispersants. If the surge of oil the media announced would hit the coasts failed to do so, it is probably due to these dispersants. But the presence of crude oil deep in the water means that it has not disappeared. Many scientists fear the long-term effects and the destruction of marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.