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BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill facts

Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010

In 2008, British Petroleum - BP - was issued a long-term lease contract for oil production on the site of the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico, 80 km away from the coast of Louisiana. On that oil patch, called Macondo, in the years 2000 - 2001 there was built an offshore oil drilling platform of the semisubmersible type that was the size of two football fields. The oil well drilling rig "Deepwater Horizon", installed on the platform, had a height of 122 m, the distance from the drill to the seabed was 1.6 km, and the depth of the drilled hole was about 4 km. The drilling actually was performed at seabed at a depth of 5.6 km below the water surface by robots that were controlled remotely. Such are the facts, giving the notion about the platform and the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, as the engineering construction and technologically high standard oil drilling facility that should have been completely fireproof and safe against explosions, ignitions, and from producing any kind of oil spills by excluding the very possibility of leaks of oil out of the system

More BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill facts

Despite this enormous depth, the borehole diameter was only 1.72 m, and the diameter of the borehole bottom was even smaller, 1 m. The walls of the well were strengthen with the steel rings, each being 600 m high; by the measure of the well becoming deeper, the rigs would slide down, the narrower one would just slip through wider and would be sealed with cement. All the cementing work was carried out by the Halliburton company, which which had been contracted by the BP. On the top of the oil well there was installed a fuse. The 12-meter valve system, was intended to be put in operation and first shut off, and then plug the hole.

The explosion took place 20 April 2010 and immediately caused the fire that involved the superstructure of the Deepwater Horizon. The fire lasted 36 hours, ending up with the platform collapsing and drowning, and forming an oil spill on the sea surface that was 965 km in diameter. It is a confirmd BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill fact that the huge oil spill began floating towards the shores of Louisiana, causing the valid fears mainland could be polluted dramatically.

BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill facts about human victims and those who got rescued

The explosion killed 11 people on the platform still before the fire started, it was very much like a military action. The explosion, followed by the fire, damaged the system of safety valves, that had to shut of and plug the hole tightly. Supplied with a virtually unlimited volume of fuel in the form of crude oil, the platform turned into hell. Everything was burning. About a hundred people managed to get rescued on inflatable boats, some managed to jump into the water and swim away.

BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill facts vs the estimates

According to the BP own estimates, the rate of the supply of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was 160 000 liters per day (1,000 barrels per day), while according to coastal services, in fact some 60,000 barrels of oil would spill daily to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, threatenning to cause the biggest in the history of the offshore oil drilling pollution of both marine and coastal environment. In order to destroy an oil spill on the sea water surface, the BP started to burn local spots using dispersants. About 8 million liters of the dispersants were poured into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. About 800 million gallons of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Resulting the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, about 1,100 miles of coastline was contaminated, all US states, bordering the Gulf of Mexico, have suffered. The states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida were hit the hardest. As of 25 May 2010, 189 dead sea turtles, birds and other animals were discovered at the time the oil spill on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the spill threatened more than 400 species of animals, including whales and dolphins. As of November 2, 2010 6814 dead animals, including 6104 birds, 609 sea turtles, dolphins, other 100 mammals and one reptile were collected.

July 12, 2010, the US government imposed a 6-month moratorium (until November 30) on offshore deepwater drilling. It had to be canceled as soon as a set of rules reinforcing security measures on oil rigs would have been adopted. The moratorium was lifted earlier than expected - 12 October - that is another fact concerning the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Brief summary of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill facts:

  • Name: Deepwater Horizon
  • Date: 20 April 2010
  • Region: United States
  • Location: Gulf of Mexico, 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana
  • Type of disaster: the explosion
  • Damage to the environment: oil spill
  • Fatalities: 11
  • Type: Oil Platform
  • Year built: 2001
  • Length: 121 m
  • Width: 78 m
  • Height: 41 m
  • Flag of Marshall Islands
  • Owner: Transocean Ltd.
  • Operator: BP

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