Saturday, March 3, 2012


On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded in the northern Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven people and triggering an oil spill that would continue over the next five months. This oil spill is usually referred to locally as the BP Oil Spill.
This tragic loss of life and environmental disaster brought the attention of the whole world to this beautiful yet fragile region with its spectacular aquatic and terrestrial landscapes and wildlife. While the Gulf slowly recovers, the plants, animals, fungi and microbes that inhabit this ocean, its beaches, estuaries, and islands remain at risk. You can read a more detailed report of this disaster at bottom of this blog.

No forgiveness of BP but they do always seem to have 'beach teams' at the ready to clean up rogue tar balls from our previously pristine Perdido Key beaches. Below photo shots from our Eden balcony November - December 2011:

Florida: Oil spill – BP finds oil on Perdido Key – Pensacola News Journal
BP cleanup crews recovered 1,253 pounds of tar balls mixed with shells near the Eden Condominium on Tuesday.

The deposit is one of the largest in recent weeks, Craig Savage, BP’s Florida District spokesman, said.
Five additional cleanup crews were called out to collect the “high concentration of surface residual tar balls” discovered in the surf zone, he said.
The deposit was near an area where several large tar mats were removed in the Gulf with a giant backhoe earlier this year.
BP crews are still monitoring and cleaning up tar balls on Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach on a daily basis. But operations have been scaled back to two days a week in Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Perdido Key area and weekly on the seashore’s Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa areas.

By Kimberly Blair, November 16, 2011, / image –

Oil on beach in front of Capri taken 6.8.10




The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, commonly referred to as the BP oil spill, is an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which flowed unabated for three months in 2010, and continues to leak fresh oil. It is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

The spill stemmed from a sea-floor oil gusher that resulted from the April 20, 2010, explosion of Deepwater Horizon, which drilled on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others. On July 15, 2010, the leak was stopped by capping the gushing wellhead, after it had released about 4.9 million barrels (780,000 m3) of crude oil. An estimated 53,000 barrels per day (8400 m3/d) escaped from the well just before it was capped. It is believed that the daily flow rate diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 barrels per day (9900 m3/d) and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted.  

On September 19, 2010, the relief well process was successfully completed, and the federal government declared the well "effectively dead". In August 2011, oil and oil sheen covering several square miles of water were reported surfacing not far from BP’s Macondo well. Scientific analysis confirmed the oil is a chemical match for Macondo 252. The Coast Guard said the oil was too dispersed to recover.
The spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. Skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, sand-filled barricades along shorelines, and dispersants were used in an attempt to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands, and estuaries from the spreading oil. Scientists also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface as well as an 80-square-mile (210 km²) "kill zone" surrounding the blown well. In late November 2010, 4,200 square miles (11,000 km²) of the Gulf were re-closed to shrimping after tar balls were found in shrimpers' nets. The amount of Louisiana shoreline affected by oil grew from 287 miles (462 km) in July to 320 miles (510 km) in late November 2010. In January 2011, an oil spill commissioner reported that tar balls continue to wash up, oil sheen trails are seen in the wake of fishing boats, wetlands marsh grass remains fouled and dying, and crude oil lies offshore in deep water and in fine silts and sands onshore. A research team found oil on the bottom of the seafloor in late February 2011 that did not seem to be degrading. On May 26, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality extended the state of emergency related to the oil spill. By July 9, 2011, roughly 491 miles (790 kilometers) of coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida remained contaminated by BP oil, according to a NOAA spokesperson. In October 2011, a NOAA report shows dolphins and whales continue to die at twice the normal rate.
In January 2011 the White House oil spill commission released its final report on the causes of the oil spill. They blamed BP and its partners for making a series of cost-cutting decisions and the lack of a system to ensure well safety. They also concluded that the spill was not an isolated incident caused by "rogue industry or government officials", but that "The root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur". After its own internal probe, BP admitted that it made mistakes which led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In June 2010 BP set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the oil spill. To July 2011, the fund has paid $4.7 billion to 198,475 claimants. In all, the fund has nearly 1 million claims and continues to receive thousands of claims each week.
In September 2011, the U.S. government published its final investigative report on the accident. In essence, that report states that the main cause was the defective cement job, and Halliburton, BP and Transocean were, in different ways, responsible for the accident.

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