COVER ART RICK C. CROWSEY Crowsey Incorporated British Petroleum (BP) began drilling the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico (approximately 50 m (80 km) East-Southeast of South Pass, Louisiana) using the Marianas rig in October 2009. Drilling had reached more than 9,000 feet (2,743 m) below sea level (approximately 4,000 feet (1,219 m) below the sea floor) when Hurricane Ida damaged the rig, requiring it be towed in for repairs. The Deepwater Horizon rig arrived at the Macondo site on January 31, 2010 to complete the planned additional 9,000 feet (2,743 m) of drilling (Graham et al. 2011). After several months of drilling, a negative pressure test was begun on the morning of April 20th as one of the final steps planned for the semisubmersible Deepwater Horizon. An unexpected loss of power, followed by an explosion occurred at approximately 9:49 p.m. that evening. The fire started by the explosion raged aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on the Macondo Prospect for approximately 36 hours before the rig sank (Bly 2010). Hydrocarbons flowed from the reservoir through the well bore until it was finally capped on July 15, 2010 (Graham et al. 2011). When the fire began on
Southeastern Geographer – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Dec 7, 2013
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