Deepwater Horizon: Disaster in the Gulf - Preface

Deepwater Horizon:  Disaster in the Gulf - Preview Image

Deepwater Horizon Off-shore drilling rig.  Photograph online courtesy Wikipedia Commons. 


What I get is
25,000 barrels a day
coming out of that tiny hole -
that's a 1.2-inch hole.

Steve Wereley
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering 
Purdue University 
Describing One of Three BP Leaks

Lying beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are about 3.6 billion barrels of oil.  That, at least, is the federal government’s estimate

If the Minerals Management Service is correct, the total amount of buried oil - if fully extracted - would satisfy all of America’s oil needs for about ... six months. 

Given those numbers, people have long debated whether offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is worth the risk.  Although rigs dot the seascape along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Florida has not allowed it.  Tourism and fishing - both commercial and sport - drive that state’s economy. 

After an offshore oil rig called “Deepwater Horizon” exploded (on the 20th of April, 2010) - then sank, two days later, in a dramatic sequence of events over a four-minute period - America sustained its worst-ever oil spill. 

How did such a catastrophe occur?


Original Release Date:  May, 2010
Updated Quarterly, or as Needed

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 3706

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