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Sat Apr 20, 2019, 04:44 AM

9 Years Ago Today; Deepwater Horizon


Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig[8] owned by Transocean. Built in 2001 in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries,[9] the rig was commissioned by R&B Falcon (a later asset of Transocean),[10] registered in Majuro, and leased to BP from 2001 until September 2013.[11] In September 2009, the rig drilled the deepest oil well in history at a vertical depth of 35,050 ft (10,683 m) and measured depth of 35,055 ft (10,685 m)[12] in the Tiber Oil Field at Keathley Canyon block 102, approximately 250 miles (400 km) southeast of Houston, in 4,132 feet (1,259 m) of water.

On 20 April 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an uncontrollable blowout caused an explosion on the rig that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles (64 km) away.[14] The fire was inextinguishable and, two days later, on 22 April, the Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest oil spill in U.S. waters.


Explosion and oil spill
At 9:45 P.M. CDT on 20 April 2010, during the final phases of drilling the exploratory well at Macondo, a geyser of seawater erupted from the marine riser onto the rig, shooting 240 ft (73 m) into the air. This was soon followed by the eruption of a slushy combination of drilling mud, methane gas, and water. The gas component of the slushy material quickly transitioned into a fully gaseous state and then ignited into a series of explosions and then a firestorm. An attempt was made to activate the blowout preventer, but it failed. The final defense to prevent an oil spill, a device known as a blind shear ram, was activated but failed to plug the well.

At the time of the explosion, there were 126 crew on board; seven were employees of BP, 79 of Transocean, there were also employees of various other companies involved in the operation of the rig, including Anadarko, Halliburton and M-I SWACO. Eleven workers were presumed killed in the initial explosion. The rig was evacuated, with injured workers airlifted to medical facilities. After approximately 36 hours, Deepwater Horizon sank on 22 April 2010. The remains of the rig were located resting on the seafloor approximately 5,000 ft (1,500 m) deep at that location, and about 1,300 ft (400 m) (quarter of a mile) northwest of the well.

The resultant oil spill continued until 15 July when it was closed by a cap. Relief wells were used to permanently seal the well, which was declared "effectively dead" on 19 September 2010.

Transocean received an early partial insurance settlement for total loss of the Deepwater Horizon of US $401 million around 5 May 2010. Financial analysts noted that the insurance recovery was likely to outweigh the value of the rig (although not necessarily its replacement value) and any liabilities the latter estimated at up to US$200 million.

Litigation, ultimate roll call of damage, and the scope of final insurance recovery were all unknown as of June 2010, with analysts reporting that the aftermath was of unprecedented scale and complexity compared to previous disasters which themselves took many years to unfold and resolve. A July 2010 analysis by the Financial Times on the aftermath cited legal sources as saying that "at some point the scale of the litigation becomes so large that it really is novel", that "the situation is likely to be complicated further because the variety of probable cases means it will be hard to aggregate them into so-called class actions" and that there was "no way to put this in historical context because we have never faced anything like this before". As with the Exxon Valdez disaster, litigation was being discussed in terms of a 20-year timescale.

In January 2013, Transocean agreed to pay US$1.4 billion for violations of the US Clean Water Act. BP had earlier agreed to pay $2.4 billion but faced additional penalties that could range from $5 billion to $20 billion.[63] In September 2014, Halliburton agreed to settle a large percentage of legal claims against them by paying $1.1 billion into a trust by way of three installments over two years. On 4 September 2014, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled BP was guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct under the Clean Water Act (CWA). He described BP's actions as "reckless," while he said Transocean's and Halliburton's actions were "negligent." He apportioned 67% of the blame for the spill to BP, 30% to Transocean, and 3% to Halliburton. BP issued a statement strongly disagreeing with the finding, and saying the court's decision would be appealed.

On 8 December 2014, The US Supreme Court rejected BP's legal challenge to a compensation deal over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The settlement agreement had no cap, but BP initially estimated that it would pay roughly $7.8bn (6.1bn) to compensate victims.


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Reply 9 Years Ago Today; Deepwater Horizon (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Apr 2019 OP
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2019 #1

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sun Apr 21, 2019, 12:48 AM

1. We're still dealing with the effects now - we must never forget.

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