Deepwater Horizon Sinks Offshore Louisiana

Rigzone Looks Back: The most significant health, safety and environmental event to occur in the oil and gas sector this century. The impact of the Macondo incident was felt all over the world as the oil and gas industry had to evaluate its offshore working practices and countries such as Italy introduced offshore drilling bans.

The US Coast Guard office in Louisiana has confirmed that Transocean's semisubmersible, Deepwater Horizon, has sunk in approximately 5,000 feet of water off the coast of Louisiana at approximately 10:30 a.m, (CST) this morning. Additional explosions occurred this morning causing the rig to settle below the surface. At this time it is unclear what the condition of the rig is. ROVs have been deployed to survey the situation.

The exact position of the rig is not known at this time and two pipelines that are in the area have been shut-in as a precaution should the rig impact one or both of the pipelines. Either the Development Driller III or the Discoverer Enterprise, both currently under contract to BP, could be used to drill a relief well should it be necessary.

The Macondo Prospect was being temporarily abandoned as a producer and would have been tied back to existing infrastructure in the area. It had been drilled to just over 18,000 feet and had already been cased and cemented. An ROV is also being used to determine the condition of the wellhead.

Deepwater Horizon Sinks Offshore Louisiana
Deepwater Horizon Sinks Offshore Louisiana

BP's Incident Management Team is continuing to make every effort to respond to the spill in coordination with Transocean, the USCG, and the Minerals Management Service.

BP says five deepwater open ocean recovery vessels are currently on location with more on the way and skimming operations have begun. Current skimming capacity in the area is 170,000 bbls/day. The barge storage capacity in the area is just over 120,0000 bbls/day with more storage capacity also on the way. Shallow water skimmers are also on standby at Fourchon, Louisiana. Within 6 hours there will be 500,000 feet of boom in the area and it will increase to 1,000,000 feet within the next 12 hours. Four aircraft are also on standby to spray dispersants.

Search and rescue efforts continue for the 11 missing oil workers. It is uncertain at this time, but the 11 missing may have been in the vicinity of the explosion. Weather conditions are favorable for continued search efforts. Helicopters and patrol boats are continuing to search the area. Enough time has passed that the survivability window may have closed. However, Rear Admiral Landry said the search would continue for approximately another twelve hours.

Deepwater Horizon Sinks Offshore Louisiana
Source: Fox News

According to RigLogix, the Deepwater Horizon, an RBS-8D-designed dynamically-positioned semisub, was rated to work in water depths up to 10,000' and had a rated drilling depth capacity of 30,000'. The rig was under long-term contract to BP through September 2013 at a dayrate of $502,000. The Deepwater Horizon was built in Ulsan, South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries at a cost of approximately $365 million and entered service in 2001.


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