I watched this dramatic film last night called “Deepwater Horizon”, about the [B][I]true story events[/I][/B] of the semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit called Deepwater Horizon that began on April 20, 2010.
The rig was built in 2001 to drill subsea wells for oil exploration and production. It was particularly notable for its advanced systems such as remote monitoring and information transmission from Houston, Texas, as well as in the rig’s operation and automation.
On that day, the rig was about to begin drilling off the southern coast of Louisiana. Soon after commencing operations a series of equipment malfunctions resulted in a massive blowout of seawater, drilling mud and methane gas. The gas component ignited into a series of explosions and then a firestorm. Finally, the mechanism for plugging the well was activated but failed…
There were 126 crew on board the rig and eleven workers were killed in the initial explosion. The rig was evacuated and the fire burned uncontrollably for a further 36 hours before the rig finally sank on 22 April 2010.
But the underwater oil spill continued until 15 July when it was finally closed by a cap. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. In spite of massive operations to protect beaches, wetlands and estuaries from the spreading oil, extensive damage occured to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing and tourism industries. Even many years later various studies continue to reveal damage and deformities to marine life as a result of the oil spillage.
The results of numerous investigations into the causes of the explosion and record oil spill blamed defective cement on the well, cost-cutting decisions and an inadequate safety system,and systemic root causes.
According to Wikipedia, the ensuing legal proceedings resulted in 11 counts of manslaughter and a record-setting $4.525 billion in fines and other payments. In addition, apparently, as of February 2013, criminal and civil settlements and payments to a trust fund had amounted to $42.2 billion.
In September 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the oil company concerned was primarily responsible for the oil spill because of its gross negligence and reckless conduct and in July 2015, the company agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines, the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.