The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Essay
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). The oil usually floats on saltwater and on freshwater, but heavy oil can sometimes sink in freshwater (NOAA, 2015). The oil then spreads out across in a thin layer on the surface of the water called oil slick (NOAA, 2015).