This Was Deepwater Horizon before it went up in flames and hit the ocean floor. Pic Courtesy Transocean /AP.
Pic Courtesy Deepwater Horizon Response
It is the end of May, 42nd day of Deep Horizon Oil Spill, the Oil is still leaking and tomorrow 1st of June officially the Hurricane season starts. WSI (Weather Services International of Andover, Massachusetts) predicts 2010 hurricane season could be stronger than the 2005 season (the strongest in recorded history, remember Katrina?). The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA released its 2010 hurricane season forecast on 27th May Thursday which also reiterated the prediction made by WSI – This is going to be an “Active to Extremely Active Hurricane Season”.
If the outlook holds they predict:
14 to 23 Named Storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including
8 to 14 Hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which
3 to 7 could be Major Hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
A profile of the rig which caused the single largest Environmental disaster in US History –
Manufactured by the Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2001, Deepwater Horizon a submersible oil rig under contract to BP exploration has been used in multiple drillings before including Atlantis, The Thunder Horse field and the Tiber before drilling in the current spot Mississippi Canyon which is known as the Macondo Prospect. It was close to completion when the explosion and the sinking happened. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig in September of 2009 drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 feet (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 feet (10,685 m). Water depth is 5000 feet as we have been hearing so it is not the deepest oil well per se. Check out the list of deeper oil wells in the ocean (List Courtesy FT.com)
A look at the Other Major Oil Spills and How they compare (courtesy FT.com)
After the explosion the rig sank to bottom of the sea and rests about 400 meters away from the pipe which keeps spewing oil. Right now after the failures of Top hat – the one ton metallic box now lying side by side with the sunken rig, Tubing – the tube attached to the riser which was siphoning oil managed 900,000 barrels, Top Kill and other methods BP plans to put a lid on the pipe after cutting it right above the leak with a robotic arm. Look at the picture to see the details of the LMRP (Low Marine Riser Package) and how it is supposed to function. The drilling ship on top is supposed to siphon out the oil once the contraption is in place. Hopefully it helps to hold the oil until the 2 relief wells being drilled are a reality in about 3 months (one of which is right now on hold as they work on the LMRP)
The issues with installing the LMRP are how much oil will spill when the pipe is cut? Right now it is a leak that has spewed out all this oil into the gulf. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake it works, like all the other things BP tried this too is a trial for the first time at this depth. If this does not work there are some estimates that the leak could go on until August of 2010! Scary scenario having all that oil mixed with the storms which are expected…
There is also the issue that if a hurricane hits after the LMRP is in place, the tube siphoning oil will have to be removed as the ship retreats to the shore to sit out the storm, where-by the oil again will be flowing out… who knows what kind of an environmental effect it will have by then.
If left alone the Macondo well will take 7 years to empty itself out!!
Till date the spillage if filled in gallon milk jugs lined up side by side, there would be enough to reach from Chicago to New York – and back!
Latest update from
Reuters: Embattled BP readies to Plug Gushing Gulf Well
Some Useful urls/ telephone numbers for those impacted by the spill
Property damage claims: BP Claims Claims Hot line – 1-800-440-0858
Volunteers – (If you are from out of state please do contact the organizations listed below before heading out for clear instructions and to be able to help.)
The rig on fire on 20th April 2010
Picture Courtesy the US Coastguard