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Slick data. In the years that I spent offshore, it wasn’t unusual to call MMS to report that “a slick is moving through our field.” This protected us from the potential bad luck of having an MMS-chartered helicopter, flying overhead at that moment, concluding that the slick must have originated from our operations. Although we often knew the source – either a neighbor or ourselves – as the distance from shore increased, many of those slicks were bona fide mysteries, and years later we would learn that these were caused by natural seafloor seeps.

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