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Oceans and Oil Spills. History of the Gulf Oil Spill. Explosion kills 11 men on rig on April 22, 2010 The Entire rig sinks on April 23, 2010 A customized containment cap was fitted to the well in early June, Oil was piped to the Discover Enterprise vessel.

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history of the gulf oil spill
History of the Gulf Oil Spill
  • Explosion kills 11 men on rig on April 22, 2010
  • The Entire rig sinks on April 23, 2010
  • A customized containment cap was fitted to the well in early June,
    • Oil was piped to the Discover Enterprise vessel.
  • A second containment system was installed in mid-June, using a manifold and hoses to carry oil and gas to the Q4000 vessel on the surface.
  • On July 12, a new sealing cap was installed
  • On July 15, a well integrity test began in which the cap’s three ram capping stack was closed, effectively shutting in the well and all sub-sea containment systems.
  • On August 5, BP completed cementing operations at the MC252 well, as part of the static kill procedure.
  • The relief well drilled by the DDIII drilling rig intercepted the annulus of the MC252 well on September 15
  • Pumping of cement into the annulus on September 17, permanently sealed the well.
this spill in context 6 largest previous spills
This Spill in Context (6 largest previous Spills)

November 1, 1979, ~2.6 million gal spilled, 7.8 million gal

burned

August 8, 2005, >8 million gal in 250 reported spills

August 10, 1993, 336,000 gal

June 8, 1990, 5.1 million gal.

July 30, 1984, 2.7 million gal

June 3, 1979, 4.2- 12.5 million gal

oil pollution in our oceans
Oil Pollution in our Oceans
  • 3.25 million metric tons of petroleum annually
  • Human Sources
    • Leaks at marine terminals
    • Disposal of drilling muds from offshore operations
    • Municipal and industrial wastes
    • Urban runoff into rivers
    • Atmospheric fallout from the incomplete combustion of oil in motor vehicles
exxon valdez oil spill
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
  • Exxon Valdez
    • 11.6 million Gal Spilled
  • Horizon Spill
    • 210,000–4,200,000 gal/day
how much oil was spilled
How Much Oil was spilled?
  • Used optical plume velocimetry to estimate the velocity of fluids escaping the damaged well,
  • Average flow rate from 22 April to 3 June
    • 5.6 x 104 ±21% barrels/day
  • After the riser was removed
    • 6.8 x 104 ±19% barrels/day
  • Taking into account the oil collected at the seafloor
    • 4.4 x 106 ±20% barrels of oil was released into the ocean
    • ~1.8 billion gal.
  • Crone, TJ & Tolstoy, M, 2010 Science
clean up process
Clean-up process
  • Use Dispersants
  • Collect with boom and scoop out of ocean
  • Burn it
gulf oil spill
Gulf Oil Spill
  • Escaping oil sprayed with dispersant at well head
    • Produced tiny droplets of oil in deep ocean
  • Surface oil
    • Collected with booms
    • Burned
the loop current
The “Loop Current”
  • Initial concerns that the surface oil would enter the loop current
  • Winds helped to contain the oil
hurricane impacts on oil spill
Hurricane Impacts on Oil Spill
  • Hurricanes are likely to disperse remaining oil further
  • Potentially oil can be driven onshore through the storm surge
  • BP States that deep water oil is in ppm and should not be significant
hurricane effects on oil spill
Hurricane effects on oil spill
  • Position and approach of hurricane will effect potential damage
  • Right side of hurricane can bring significant oil ashore
gulf oil spill clean up
Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up

Escaping oil sprayed with dispersant at well head

Produced tiny droplets of oil in deep ocean

Surface oil

Collected with booms

Burned

shore clean up methods
Shore Clean-up Methods

Can Spray water on shore

Drives oil into sediment

Hot water kills micro-organisms

meiofauna in beach environments
Meiofauna in Beach Environments

Microscopic invertebrates that live in beach sands

Base of the food chain

Meiofauna

pelagic organisms
Pelagic Organisms

Nekton may be able to avoid oily areas

Plankton are unable to move away

Plankton-floaters

Nekton-swimmers

benthic organisms
Benthic Organisms

Organisms that live on the ocean bottom

Typically in shallow water

2 types

Sessile-Cannot move to avoid oil

Vagile-may be able to crawl or swim short distances to escape oil residue

turtle strandings on gulf coast
Turtle Strandings on Gulf Coast

Green is confirmed

Red are new strandings

Too soon to tell how many are from oil

Numbers may be inflated

sea turtles collected since spill
Sea Turtles Collected since Spill

Dead (5% oiled)

Live (85% oiled)

mammals collected
Mammals Collected

Dead (4% Oiled)

Live (22% Oiled)

volunteer groups capture oiled birds
Volunteer Groups Capture Oiled Birds

Brown pelicans are particularly susceptible

Dive into water

Feathers become coated with sticky mousse

Too heavy to fly

May die of

exposure

starvation

drowning

exhaustion

Gulf Coast oiled bird

birds collected since spill
Birds Collected since Spill

Dead (37% oiled)

Live

Note: Only live birds that were in distress were collected.

fishing closures
Fishing Closures

October 5, 2010

October 22, 2010

oil in the water column
Oil in the Water Column

Dispersant caused oil to remain at depth

Natural bacteria eats oil

Oxygen is depleted at depth

bp s response
BP’s Response
  • Amount Spent
    • Over $8 billion spent to date
    • $20 billion claims escrow fund
    • $100 million unemployed rig workers' fund
    • $500 million establishing Gulf Coast Research Initiative
  • Containment
    • 827,926 barrels of oily liquid skimmed
    • 265,450 barrels in controlled surface burns