Offshore rig explosions are not only dangerous to the workers on the rig, they also have the potential to cause large scale oil spills that have drastic impacts on the environment and coastal economies. No incident exemplifies this better than the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. That explosion killed 11 rig workers and injured dozens more. Additionally, because various methods of capping the well failed, oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, causing the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. By some counts, over 170 million gallons of oil were released into the Gulf.
Striving to Improve Offshore Safety
As the five year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion approaches, federal regulators and key oil industry employees are looking back at some of the safety progresses that have been made over the last half decade. In the months and years following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, some of the world's largest oil producers formed a consortium to work together on improving offshore safety standards and developing better ways to clean up oil spills that do occur.
New Oil Spill Containment Device Presented
Earlier this week, consortium members met in New Orleans to present some of the latest technology developed to prevent and clean up oil spills. Front and center was an expanded containment system that combines dispersants, top hats, and other containment devices to funnel oil being released from an uncontrolled well through tubes to oil tankers on the water surface.
The system was designed by Marine Well Containment Co. The company believes the design will be effective in depths of up to 10,000 feet and can capture up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.