BP Oil Spill: Have We Forgotten?

April 20 is the second anniversary of the BP oil spill, the largest spill ever. Shane Jones, biology professor at the College of Lake County, presented details of the spill as part of Earth Week activities.

To recognize the second anniversary of the BP oil spill at the Deep Water Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, College of Lake County teacher Shane Jones led a seminar on the largest spill in history.

The rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 employees. The broken pieces of the rig crashed down into the water, hitting the deep water oil pipes, causing a rupture and an oil spil that went on for 87 days.

As part of Earth Week activities, the College of Lake County in Grayslake hosted a special session about the BP Oil Spill on Thursday. Shane Jones, biology teacher, led the session.

"It took four days for the Coast Guard to realize that the oil was leaking," said Jones. He said that on April 26, 2010, BP said that 1,000 barrels, or about 42 gallons, of oil per day were leaking into the ocean. That number was quickly revised to about 5,000 barrels per day, five times the original estimate.

On May 6, 2010, oil reached the coast of Louisana.

"This was the largest oil spill," Jones said. "Ever."

What came pouring out from the ocean floor was thick, unrefined oil. 

"It impacted the wildlife and the wetlands of the entire area," he said.

On May 13, 2010, the government forced BP to release live videos of underwater footage of the leaking oil.

On June 12, 2010, BP estimated that 40,000 barrels of oil were spilling into the Gulf daily. Later, that number was increased to between 53,000 to 62,000 barrels of oil per day. 

On July 15, 2010, a containment cap was finally put into place underwater to block the leaking oil pipe after 87 days, Jones said.

He provided statistics from the oil spill:

  • 2 million - the number of gallons of dispersants applied to the surface of the water in an attempt to break up the oil
  • 800,000 - the total number of gallons of oil collected or burned off after the spill
  • 206 million - the number of gallons of oil believed to have entered the Gulf of Mexico

Jones said that the spill was believed to have contributed to the death of nearly 7,000 animals that were found along the beaches. "The actual number could be much higher," Jones said.

He reiterated that the impact of the BP Oil Spill was the largest in history. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez disasater in 1989 caused 0.5 million barrels of oil. The BP oil spill dumped about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Jones finished the presentation with a question: How safe are the other 3,858 oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico today?


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