Friday, June 11, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill in Pictures and Videos

The whole story on pictures and videos.The Deepwater Horizon was a 9 year old semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), a massive, dynamically positioned oil drilling floating platform, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, that could operate in waters up to 8,000 feet deep and drill down to 30,000 feet below sea bed. It was owned by Transocean co., and was under lease to British Petroleum(BP) until September 2013.

At the time of the explosion, the Deepwater Horizon was drilling an exploratory well at a water depth of approximately 5,000 feet in the Macondo Prospect located in the Mississippi Canyon Block 252, in the United States exclusive economic zone about 41 miles (66 km) off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Production casing was being run and cemented.

Once the cementing was complete, it was due to be tested for integrity and a cement plug set to temporarily abandon the well for later completion as a subsea producer. BP is the operator and principal developer of the Macondo Prospect with 65% of interest, while 25% is owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and 10% by MOEX Offshore 2007, a unit of Mitsui.

During March and April, 2010, multiple platform workers and supervisors expressed concerns with "well control." At approximately 9:45 p.m. CDT on April 20, 2010, methane gas from the well under high pressure shot up and out of the drill column marine riser, expanded onto the platform, and then ignited and exploded then the fire spread the platform rapidly.

Most of the workers were evacuated by lifeboats or were airlifted out by helicopter, but eleven workers were never found despite a three-day Coast Guard search operation, and are presumed to have died in the explosion. Efforts by multiple ships to douse the flames were unsuccessful. After burning furiously for approximately 36 hours, the Deepwater Horizon sank on the morning of April 22, 2010.

On the afternoon of April 22, 2010, a large oil slick began to spread at the former rig site. Two remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) unsuccessfully attempted to cap the well. BP announced that it was deploying a ROV to the site to assess whether oil was flowing from the well. On April 23, a ROV reportedly found no oil leaking from the sunken rig and no oil flowing from the well.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry expressed cautious optimism of zero environmental impact, stating that no oil was emanating from either the wellhead or the broken pipes and that oil spilled from the explosion and sinking was being contained. The following day, April 24, Landry announced that a damaged wellhead was indeed leaking oil into the Gulf and described it as "a very serious spill".

"Deep Horizon" Oil Platform

"Deep Horizon" Oil Platform being transported into drilling location

The explosion caused by controls reported by some workers before the disaster

Anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels fighting the fire.

An aerial view of the platform on fire

Deep water hatch spilling oil

A C-130 Hercules drops an oil-dispersing chemical into the Gulf of Mexico.

United States Environmental Services' workers prepare oil containment booms for deployment.

Clouds of smoke billow up from controlled burns taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil slicks surround the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana.

Heavily oiled Brown Pelicans wait to be cleaned of Gulf spill crude.

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