Deepwater Horizon and the Persian Gulf Oil Spill – Key Questions Answered (2023)

Why did the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explode and catch fire?

according toBP report September 2010, the accident began with a "rupture of the integrity of the well". Control of the fluid pressure in the well was then lost. The blowout preventer, a device that is supposed to automatically shut down the well in the event of such a runaway situation, didn't work. Hydrocarbons flew into the shaft at an uncontrolled speed and ignited, causing a series of explosions on the platform.

How many people died?

Eleven are from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Why is it taking so long to stop the oil flow?

according toDeepwater Horizon Research Team Final Progress Report, 10 different techniques were used to try to stop the leak. start with hard workTurn off the anti-theft device with a remote control car. Subsequent attempts included catching the riser oil spillLower the "cylinder"on top of that. Then the engineers trykill wellBy injecting heavy mud into the blowout preventer. All these efforts failed. Finally, engineers were able to screw the sealing plug onto the top of the vent valve. This provided a temporary solution until engineers could pump heavy mud and cement into the well to reduce wellhead pressure and permanently close the flow path.

The leak began on April 20. The well was closed on July 15th, which ispermanently sealedSeptember 19, 2010

How big is the area affected by the spill?

(Video) Deepwater Horizon Blowout Animation

It depends on who you ask.blood pressurePolaris ordered an assessment of the affected area and recommendations for cleanup. Shore cleanup technical consultant Ed Owens believes all the oil is on the surface, with only 10 percent reaching shore. His team surveyed about 4,000 miles of coastline, and during an initial assessment, they found that about 1,000 miles were affected. About 200 miles of that stretch were heavily oiled—meaning the overlying oil was more than 3 feet wide and covered 50 percent of the distribution. This includes about 80 miles of mud bog. Now, he said, there are 15 miles of heavily oiled beaches and "tens of miles" of moderately oiled shoreline.

That's what a spokesperson for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told the Guardian earlier this monthAbout 60 miles of coastline are still covered in oil.

Not everyone agrees. Samantha Joy's team at the University of Georgia thinks there's even more oil lurking beneath the surface. they found a22 miles long oil and gas dropletsDeep in the Gulf of Mexico last May. Their findings are documented in a report published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

In December, Joy discovered a thick layer of oil, dead starfish and other creatures in a 2,900-square-mile area of ​​the ocean floor.She told the Guardian earlier this month"I don't think it's beyond imagination that 50 percent of the oil is still floating there."

Some independent scholars have disputed Joy's claims.Simone BersaraThe Deepwater Horizon disaster expert at the National Oceanography Center in Southampton said various organizations - "almost too numerous to list" - had taken samples from the seafloor but found no evidence to support Joy's claims. "She's talking about a large affected area, but that's based on one or two samples she took," he added.

Who is responsible for the accident?

In BP's report, most of the blame falls on Halliburton and Transocean, but his findings were severely criticized. Senator Ed Markey, who is investigating the congressional leaks, said at the time: "Of their eight major findings, it's clear they're only responsible for half of them. BP is happy to share the blame as long as it gets the smallest share."

Tony Hayward, who was BP's chief executive at the time of the explosion, said in a statement that the initial failure of the well's integrity was due to "poor cement performance" at oil and gas equipment company Halliburton. Halliburton noted"A number of material omissions and inaccuracies"In BP's report, he said he was "confident that all work he had done on the Macondo well had been completed in accordance with BP's specifications."

In its disaster report, BP blamed the well's owner, Transocean, for failing to properly maintain the blowout device. According to the report: “BOP [Blowout Protection] maintenance records were not accurately reported in the maintenance management system. The condition of critical components in the yellow and blue pods and the use of non-OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] parts found in the retrieved capsules Finally, it shows that the Deepwater Horizon BOP lacks a robust transoceanic maintenance management system."

(Video) Deepwater Horizon In Their Own Words (Full Episode) | In Their Own Words

Transocean responded with a scathing rebuttal: "BP's report was calculated to obscure a key factor that laid the groundwork for the Macondo affair: BP's well design was fatally flawed."

Commentators claim Deepwater Horizon failedThe inevitable result of years of oil industry deregulation.However, independentlyDeepwater Horizon Research Team Final Report, published in March this year, suggests that the real source of the problem is BP's laissez-faire approach to security.

Are BP's safety standards adequate?

no. according toDeepwater Horizon Final Report"This disaster could have been avoided if existing progressive guidance and practice had been followed," but BP "does not have a culture of functional safety."

Independently prepared by an international team of 64 experienced professionals, experts and academics, the report contains a scathing analysis of BP's mistakes. It concluded that "security was compromised as a result of a cascade of critically flawed failures and signal analysis, decision making, communication and organizational management processes to the point of an outbreak with catastrophic consequences."

It is also reported thatBP knew anti-eruption device was failing- a piece of equipment that eventually malfunctioned and caused an explosion - but nothing was done to fix it.

In addition, BP's catastrophic oil spill planContains many errors and miscalculations, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The mistakes included naming animals not found in the Gulf region, including seals and walruses, as potential victims of the spill and recommending a long-dead scientist as an expert on wildlife pollution.

Did BP play down the spill?

A Veteran U.S. Politician Blames BPlied to congress to reduce his obligationsIt comes after an internal document revealed that the company's own assessment of the worst-case scenario for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was 20 times higher than public estimates.

(Video) Remembering Deepwater Horizon, 10 Years Later

Markey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Environment subcommittee, said at the time: “This document raises some very troubling questions about what BP knew and when. Or the people candidly explain the true extent of the oil spill."

BP's PR machine is also running at full capacity. within three months of the leakBP triples its advertising budget to £60m, for local and national newspapers, magazines, television and social media. led by aA series of full-page print adsIt coincides with the one-year anniversary of the leak.

How much did the Deepwater Horizon disaster cost BP?

BP released its latest estimate of the total cost of the disaster in November 2010:Nearly $40 billion.

The leak temporarily wiped half of the company's market value. BP's share price fell sharply from 653p per share on 15 April to a low of 303p per share on 29 June. The recovery has been steady since then, but has stalled at around 480p per share since January. This can be partially attributed to his tremblingSeeking partnerships with Rosneft, Rosneft, and the associated threat of a $10 billion lawsuit from the TNK-BP joint venture.

bp says yesMore than £7.9bn in cleanup efforts to dateOwens, a technical adviser to the Coastal Cleanup, estimates the cleanup is now "probably costing BP millions of dollars a day".

BP has set aside a $20 billion fund to compensate individuals and companies for damages caused by the spill.It paid out $3.8 billion in more than 500,000 claims, including more than $600 million for fisheries.

When will all the oil be removed from the area?

NOAA spokesperson says yes"There is no basis to conclude that the recovery in the Persian Gulf will end in 2012."

(Video) How the BP Oil Spill Happened 10 years on: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Polaris, which is coordinating the cleanup, plans to finish it by the end of December. "We fully expect to be here for a few more months," Owens said.

Currently, one of the main problems facing clean-up teams is the oil smear buried under the sand. As hurricane season approaches, Owens worries that "the storm could reactivate some of the buried oil that we haven't found yet."

However, the cleaning process cannot remove every drop of oil. Polaris will rely on natural aging processes, microbial activity and evaporation to break down residual oils.

How was the leak eliminated?

NOAA produced the "oil budgetIn November 2010, this indicated that nearly a quarter of the oil had evaporated or melted; 17 percent was sucked in by "cylinders" placed on broken risers or extracted directly by other means; 16 percent was chemically dispersed over 800 Of the million liters of chemical dispersants, another 13% is dispersed by natural means, 5% is burned (equivalent to as many as 11,000 barrels per day) and 3% is collected. On the coast, the team uses beach cleaning machines and swamp cleaning techniques.

How are birds and sea life suffering?

Civil servants are now counting and recording the damage to wildlife; however, all signs point to the spill not being as catastrophic as the worst forecasts had predicted. according toData released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceIn November 2010, thousands of birds and dozens of sea turtles were affected by the spill. State and federal officials and BP contractors documented more than 6,100 dead birds, 2,200 of which were visibly oiled. They also documented more than 600 dead turtles, 18 of which were visibly oiled. Not all deaths are thought to be caused by the oil spill.

153 dead dolphins have washed ashore in the Persian Gulf, including at least eight contaminated by oil from a BP oil well. Whether they were killed by oil remains to be determined.

It's unclear how much seafloor life has been affected. Joy's research produced images of piles of dead organisms, including coral, and revealed areas of the seafloor covered with dark brown silt about 4 centimeters deep. A full survey of the seabed has yet to be completed.

(Video) BP Deepwater Horizon Accident Investigation Report


1. The Devastating Environmental Impact Of BP's Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill | Earth Stories
(Earth Stories - Climate Disaster Documentaries)
2. Was the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Preventable? | Smithsonian Channel
(Smithsonian Channel)
3. Profit, Pollution and Deception: USA's Largest Oil Spill | Deepwater Horizon | ENDEVR Documentary
4. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (full documentary) | FRONTLINE
(FRONTLINE PBS | Official)
5. "Mr. Jimmy" blasting BP managers for endangering his rig and crew – Deepwater Horizon (2016)
6. Oil Spill Cleanup Methods and Techniques Lecture
(Ian Burley)


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