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Disaster is a serious event that seriously causes severe changes society which causes human , economic, material and environmental loss. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill which is also known as BP oil spill, the BP oil disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout worldwide is an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. Killing eleven people, BP oil spill is considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8% to 31% larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I oil spill.
A BP contingency plan drawn up to deal with a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was riddled with errors and miscalculations, including the naming of a long-deceased scientist as a recommended expert on wildlife contamination. Reports in early 2012 indicated that the well site was still leaking. Numerous investigations explored the causes of the explosion and record-setting spill. The U.S. government September 2011 report pointed to defective cement on the well, faulting mostly BP, but also rig operator Transocean and contractor Halliburton Earlier in 2011, a White House commission likewise blamed BP and its partners for a series of cost-cutting decisions and an inadequate safety system, but also concluded that the spill resulted from “systemic” root causes and “absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur”. The Deepwater explosion, in May 2010, killed 11 men and left miles of Louisiana coastline coated in oil, wreaking billions of dollars of damage to tourism and fishing industries in the area. Between 3.3m and 4.9m barrels of oil gushed out into the Gulf of Mexico, marking the worst marine diaster in US history.
BP spent 86 days battling to cap the well, using various methods known in the oil industry as the “Cofferdam”, the “top hat” and the “top kill” methods. The last of these involves pumping mud and other material into the blowout preventer. BP failed to make proper contingency plans for an explosion at its Deepwater Horizon oil well and then misled officials about the amount of oil spilled when the worst happened.
According to survey the accident was caused by the failure of eight different safety systems that were meant to prevent this kind of incident: The cement at the bottom of the borehole did not create a seal, and oil and gas began to leak through it into the pipe leading to the surface. BP says the cement formulation seems not to have been up to the job. The bottom of the pipe to the surface was sealed in two ways. It too was filled with cement, and it also contained two mechanical valves designed to stop the flow of oil and gas. All of these failed, allowing oil and gas to travel up the pipe towards the surface.
The crew carried out various pressure tests to determine whether the well was sealed or not. The results of these tests were misinterpreted, so they thought the well was under control. Whether a well is under control or not, the crew at the surface should be able to detect a flow of oil and gas towards the surface by looking for unexpected increases in pressure in the well. Exactly this kind of increase occurred about 50 minutes before the rig exploded, but it was not interpreted as a leak. About 8 minutes before the explosion, a mixture of mud and gas began pouring onto the floor of the rig. The crew immediately attempted to close a valve in a device called the blowout preventer, which sits on the ocean floor over the top of the well borehole. It did not work properly.
The crew had the option of diverting the mud and gas away from the rig, venting it safely through pipes over the side. Instead, the flow was diverted to a device on board the rig designed to separate small amounts of gas from a flow of mud. The so-called mud-gas separator was quickly overwhelmed and flammable gas began to engulf the rig. The rig had an onboard gas detection system that should have sounded the alarm and triggered the closure of ventilation fans to prevent the gas reaching potential causes of ignition, such as the rig’s engines. This system failed.
The explosion destroyed the control lines the crew was using to attempt to close safety valves in the blowout preventer. However, the blowout preventer has its own safety mechanism in which two separate systems should have shut the valves automatically when it lost contact with the surface. One system seems to have had a flat battery and the other a defective switch. Consequently, the blowout preventer did not close. “It is apparent that a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the catastrophe. Multiple parties, including BP, [oilfield services company] Halliburton and [offshore drilling company] Transocean, were involved,” said Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive.
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