Tag archives for BP
Many errors made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean that led to the explosion
of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, “place in
doubt the safety culture of the entire industry,” says the final report
from President Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon
Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
The companies and the government
agencies that oversaw the drilling operation were not prepared for the
risks of drilling in deep water. “The technology, laws and regulations,
and practices for containing, responding to, and cleaning up spills lag
behind the real risks associated with deepwater drilling” offshore
and thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. The commission
recommends that the government close these safety gaps and the industry
should follow suit.
Dead zones are areas of the ocean that no longer have enough oxygen to support sea life. For over 20 years, a dead zone has formed in the gulf due to run off from farms. This year, researchers are worried that the dead zone may increase in size due to the oil spill in the gulf. Microbes consuming oil from the Gulf of Mexico’s BP spill use up oxygen when they die, raising the threat of an expanded dead zone. Scientists are looking at years of dead-zone data to determine whether the dangerous region grew after the spill.
Content produced by National Geographic. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation under Award # DRL-1045744
The oil that began leaking with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20th continues to spill into the gulf. This oil spill is now the worst in U.S. history.
The spill is taking a heavy toll on wildlife. More than 800 dead animals, including birds, fish, and dolphins, have been found in areas affected by the spill. The number of affected animals seems to have been increasing in the last few days.
Oil is hard to clean up. Try rubbing some olive oil and canola oil on your hair to see how hard it is to clean off. Now imagine trying to clean crude oil off your whole body using your mouth. Oil-coated birds are unable to keep the oil off their feathers, but while there is oil on their feathers they are unable to fly. Rehabilitators are trying to clean some of the birds by rubbing them with vegetable oil, which breaks down the heavier oil, and then washing them with detergents. Because the oil from the spill is toxic, not all cleaned birds will survive.
Scientists are not yet sure how the deaths of so many creatures will affect the Gulf ecosystem.
Photograph by Win McNamee, Getty Images
A massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the wildlife and may spread all the way to North Carolina. The oil slick began to spread soon after the April 20 explosion. Eleven people died and the oil continues to pour out of leaks about 5,000 feet (1524 meters) deep. Experts think as much as 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the water every day–that’s about 210,000 gallons (795,000 liters) of oil.
Animals like this dead Portuguese man-of-war (pictured) are beginning to be affected by the oil pollution.
Officials now plan to cover three leaks at the bottom of the ocean with a large box to contain the oil, which is now spreading closer to sensitive coastal marshes and wildlife breeding grounds along Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama.
Photograph by Alex Brandon, AP