Deepwater Oil Rig Explosion Case Study

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Deepwater Oil Rig Explosion of 2010
On April 20th, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig located in the Gulf of Mexico, suffered a massive explosion resulting in history’s largest marine oil spill to date. The explosion resulted in an estimated 1,770 kilometers of shoreline being polluted as well as the sinking of the oil rig on April 22nd, 2010 (Pallardy 2015).
Transocean, an off-shore drilling company, owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which was leased by British Petroleum (BP). On the night of the explosion a concrete core installed by a company called Halliburton, used to seal the well for later use was ruptured by a surge of natural gas. The gas traveled up the rig’s riser to the platform where it ignited, resulting in the
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The concrete that both cores were composed of contained nitrogen gas to accelerate curing, which resulted in the concrete being too weak to withstand the pressure (Pallardy 2015). In order to save money and time, Halliburton, the contractors that provided the cement failed to properly test it (Osgood 2012). Another malfunction discovered by forensic analysis was the faulty blowout preventer (BOP). This device is used to close the channel through which oil is drawn. It was discovered that blind shear rams, massive blades used to cut through oil pipes, had malfunctioned and punctured the pipe as a result of the pipe bending from the increase in pressure (Pallardy 2015). Technicians that performed fluid pressure tests incorrectly interpreted the results and subsequently ignored warning signs (Osgood …show more content…
Oil reached the shores of beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Over 1,770 kilometers of shoreline was polluted killing wildlife, destroying habitats, and compromising ecosystems. Transocean and several other companies that were at fault for the spill were liable for the billions of dollars required for the cleanup. The states that were affected by the spill suffered economically. Businesses that relied on tourism struggled as travelers were not visiting the oil polluted beaches. The fishing industry was also dramatically affected as large portions of the gulf had a fishing ban in place. As a result of this British Petroleum had to set up a $20 billion compensation fund for those affected by the oil spill (Pallardy 2015). “In the end British Petroleum was blamed for their faulty well design, Transocean was blamed as owners of the rig, and Haliburton was blamed as the contractor providing botched cement used to create the well. The U.S. government, who blamed them all, was also at blame for a lack of regulations” (Osgood

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