Oil seeps are fairly common around the world both underwater and aboveground. Oil seeps occur when enough cracks and fissures form above a reservoir to enable a small quantity of oil to escape naturally. The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (pictured below) are a large terrestrial oil seep, and oil seeps have long been used to help identify submarine oil reserves. Oil seeps are prevalent in many bodies of water, and the Gulf of Mexico is no exception.
Oil seeps are more common than you think, both on land and underwater.
A satellite survey published in January of 2000 counted at least 600 natural oil seeps within the Gulf. And they release a lot of oil.
A 2003 National Academies study estimated that about 980,000 barrels of oil, or about 41 million gallons, seep into the Gulf – every year. Recall that the Exxon Valdez is estimated to have spilled about 250,000 barrels.
So approximately four Exxon Valdezes naturally seep into the Gulf each year. The hysteria manufactured over the recent spill, or anything else for that matter, is designed to provide an excuse for more government intervention.
As Lew Rockwell points out: “Oil is natural, organic, and biodegradable”.