The Rig and Deep Water
On April 20, 2010 Deep Water Horizon, a Transocean deep sea drilling rig – working for British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico on the Macondo Prospect, which is located on the Mississippi Canyon Block 252, 48 miles from the coast of Louisiana – caught fire, burned fiercely for 36 hours and then sank in 5,000′ of water. Eleven oil rig workers died and several others were severely injured. The flames from the rig fire were 200-300 feet high and visible from a distance of 35 miles when the fire was its height.
This accident is producing the largest oil slick in American history, perhaps the largest such disaster anywhere in the history of the oil industry. Oil is leaking out at 200,000 gallons per day. The oil slick tripled in size in one day, from a spill the size of Rhode Island to one as big as Puerto Rico, according to images collected from mostly European satellites and analyzed by the University of Miami. The environmental mess could be larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, when an oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons off Alaska’s shores. No effective means for containment for the Deepwater Horizon oil slick has been found as of the date of this article.