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Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on BP Plc.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The spill emanated from a seafloor oil gusher caused by an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit, which was owned and operated by US company Transocean. Transocean was drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles (60km) southeast of the Louisiana coast.
The explosion took place on 20th April 2010 and resulted in the Deepwater Horizon oilrig sinking two days later. An average of over 50,000 barrels of oil flowed out of the well each day until it was finally contained on 15th July 2010, by which time 4.9 million barrels of oil had leaked out of the well. About 800,000 barrels, or 17%, were recaptured by BP’s containment efforts.
Over half of the remaining 4.1 million barrels of oil were either burned or skimmed, or had already evaporated or dispersed by the beginning of August 2010. A further 1.3 million barrels of oil was still onshore as tar balls, buried under sand and sediment or floating on the ocean surface as a light sheen.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was a watershed moment for BP and the oil and gas industry. It was the largest oil spill in history, exceeding the Ixtoc I oil leak in 1980 when an estimated 10,000–30,000 barrels of oil spilled per day for almost ten months until it was capped in March 1980. The total amount spilled was estimated to be 140 million gallons, or about 3.3 million barrels, of crude oil.
The initial explosion of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill killed eleven workers and injured seventeen others. The human and environmental costs of the disaster have been colossal, killing thousands of birds and other wildlife, polluting thousands of miles of coastline, and decimating local fishing and tourism industries.
Read more about the impacts of this oil spill on BP Plc and how BP recovered from this in our latest case study: BP PLC Case Study: After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill