Petroleum

Everything You Need To Know About The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The oil industry has supplemented a large percentage of the global energy demand for hundreds of years. In spite of the benefits that come with the results of oil drilling, certain major accidents that occur every now and then have left a mark in the history of fossil fuels. One of the most notable of these incidents is known as Deepwater Horizon. 

All About Deepwater Horizon

 

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Source: Pexels

Deepwater Horizon, which is also commonly referred to as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, occurred nearly a decade ago on April 20th of 2010. This particular event is significant because it was, and still is, considered the largest oil spill in the entire world.

The specific oil rig, called Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana’s coast. Not only did the rig explode, causing the massive oil spill, but it also capsized, sinking into the ocean completely following the blow. 

Although the actual loss was not definitively assessed following the event, it was estimated that anywhere from 130 million to over 200 million full gallons of oil were involved in the spill, all of which ended up in the Gulf of Mexico. 

What Caused The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?

As previously mentioned, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened as a direct result of an explosion that occurred on the rig. The underlying problem could have come from a repair that was completed prior to the blast. This consisted of a concrete core installed over the top for the purpose of closing the well temporarily. 

Natural gas was then released inside, creating an immense amount of pressure that channeled up toward the platform where it caught fire and exploded. It was two days later on the 22nd of April that the rig itself sunk into the bottom of the ocean. The device that was intended to stop explosions was not functioning at the time of the accident, which was also a huge contributing factor in the cause of the entire event. 

The Effects Of Deepwater Horizon

Still to this day, no other oil spill has surpassed the damage caused by Deepwater Horizon. However, the incident still left a negative impact in many areas. Aside from the fact that 11 rig employees were killed by the blast, there were almost 20 injuries accounted for. In addition, the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill affected the environment in more ways than one, as well as the fossil fuel industry as a whole.

 

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Source: Pixabay

The Environment

Out of millions of oil gallons released into ocean, anywhere from ten to 20 percent found its way to the bottom of the ocean, affecting the living organisms that reside there. Almost 1,300 miles of the ocean were covered in oil following the spill, causing close to one million marine life casualties. 

The usual procedure immediately following any kind of oil spill is to conduct a natural resource damage assessment. The purpose of this effort is to determine any negative effects on the ecosystem and life forms that live there. This assessment was not completed after Deepwater Horizon. 

The Fossil Fuel Industry

The entire Fossil Fuel industry took huge losses after Deepwater Horizon, especially BP, the oil company that was leasing the oil rig from Transocean at the time of the spill. BP had to pay out over 60 billion dollars in settlements to workers who were negatively impacted by the explosion.

They also paid millions of dollars to investors who faced the consequences economically. Needless to say, numerous investors pulled out of the fossil fuel industry after witnessing the largest spill in history, lowering prices and causing the business to decline. 

In the current day, the fossil fuel industry has made various improvements in technologies to avoid these types of problems. Even though mistakes do happen periodically, the industry has not been challenged to a further extent than it was after Deepwater Horizon

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