Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (BP)
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was a state-of-the-art semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit owned by Transocean and operated under a lease to BP. The rig was located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana. On April 20th 2010, while drilling an exploratory well, methane gas expanded up the drilling mechanism and onto the deck of the rig where it ignited and resulted in a powerful explosion, killing 11 workers, injuring 17, and resulting in the sinking of the rig on April 22nd. That same day as the sinking of the rig, an oil slick began to form and a large oil leak was soon discovered at the wellhead on the ocean floor. Due to the difficulty in accessing and capping the wellhead, the spill continued for about 3 months, releasing between 53,000 and 62,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico. On July 15th, the wellhead was capped, stopping the leak and on September 19th, a relief well was completed to bypass the damaged well, permanently stopping the flow of oil. The resulting oil spill was the largest in the history of the United States and created an extensive environmental disaster, threatening hundreds of species and habitats and negatively impacting industries along the Gulf Coast of the U.S.