The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Analysis
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is also known as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and the British Petroleum (BP) Oil Spill (OSHA, 2011). It occurred on April 20th, 2010 and it was approximately 50 miles southeast of the Mississippi River Delta or 66 km off the Louisiana coast (GCERTF, 2011). BP was the main developer of the Macondo Prospect oil field, which is where the accident occurred (Cleveland, 2013). The Deepwater Horizon was owned by Transocean Limited, who were under a contract with BP (Bozeman, 2011). Halliburton was another company involved, who had recently done work on the casings of the well (Cleveland, 2013).
Roughly 4.9 million barrels of oil were released by the Macondo well, with about 4.2 million barrels pouring into the Gulf of Mexico directly (GCERTF, 2011). It affected the Mississippi River delta and the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida (Lavrova and Kostianoy, 2011).
Most oil spills are caused by people making mistakes, carelessness, equipment breaking down, natural disasters, or deliberate acts from war, vandals, or dumpers (NOAA, 2015). Usually for marine spills it is due to a tanker, natural seepage as tectonic plates shift, and offshore drilling (NOAA, 2015). …show more content…
BP engineers initially tried to stop the leak with the blowout preventer, which failed due to gas hydrate formation causing a malfunction (Cleveland, 2013). BP’s plan was to get relief wells to the leaks so that heavy fluid and cement could be pumped down the hole to kill the well causing the leak (Cleveland, 2013). This was the main fix they would attempt and they estimated this process would take at least 90 days. Next, BP tried to set up a containment dome over the leak to funnel the oil through a pipe towards the surface where it could be collected (Cleveland, 2013). This also failed when the dome’s opening was also clogged with gas hydrates (Cleveland,