Environmental problems related to
human industrial activities
Environmental problems are the results of adverse
effect of human activities on the environment which includes over population,
pollution, soil degradation, deforestation, resource depletion etc
Now-a-days, humans adversely affect the environment by
number of ways like they are increasing the pollution, natural resources are depleting-cutting
of trees etc, water quantity is decreasing, emission of green house etc.
The purpose of this report is to research about the main
causes of the oil spill. To investigate, we have chosen Deep water horizon oil
spill and our research work was focused on the oil spill that happened in 2010.
Furthermore we’ll also include why the oil spill was happened, what are there
causes and who was responsible for that oil spill. We also incorporate its
solutions and recommendations in this research.
The Deep water horizon oil spill is a disaster that
was happened on 20th April, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico in the depth
of more than 18000 feet in the sea. BP and its contributors were drilling well
of the Maconda oil in the Gulf of Mexcio and cementing was done in the steel
covering of the well. Suddenly a dangerous methane gas rose up to the surface
of the sea that caused an explosion and everything was on fire and Deepwater
Horizon drilling rig was collapsed and destroyed. It was in the final stage
when the explosion was happened. The sink was completely destroyed that even 11
crew members out of 126 were also lost at that time. 17 people were also
injured in the incident. Due to explosion after such a great disaster, there
was an uncontrolled leakage of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The number of efforts
was made to control that leakage but everything was in vain. After three
months. Leakage was controlled and well was sealed after a loss of almost 500
million barrels of oil. The researcher further more depicts that the disaster
was caused not because of the technical mistake but also a human error (Flournoy, 2011).
The deep water
horizon oil spill is known by its several names like BP oil disaster, Gulf of
Mexico, BP oil spill and Maconda blowout. That oil spill is considered as the
largest oil spill of the world in the petroleum industry covered almost 84 days.
The casualties in the explosion of the Deepwater
Horizon included 11 crew (workers) and 17 others were injured. When
the deep water Horizon explosion was happened, the rig was piercing
Jonathan L. Ramseur (2010) described in his
study that the cause of explosion were the release of hydrocarbons like natural
gas and oil etc. He described in his research work of the factors that impact
on the fate of the oil spill are numerous like complexity of natural processes
, oil chemical composition and its location. He said that in 2010 the discharge
of crude oil is relatively in lesser quantity than the other oil hence it
evaporate more quickly as depicted in the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REPORT –
OIL IN THE SEA III (2003) that evaporation can
eliminate the 1/3rd portion of the average crude oil within the 1st day of
discharge. Natural processes also affect along with location of spill like the
temperature of warmer water will accelerate natural processes of dissolution,
biodegradation and evaporation etc.
(John M. Hayes, 2011) Illustrates
that the hydrocarbons that are water soluble is having implications in the deep
water oil spill. His research indicates that a great volume of water soluble
compounds and hydrocarbons like C1-C3 keep there in the deep water and the petroleum
compounds that are insoluble were send to the surface of the sea. He concluded
in his research that
“In the case of the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill, however, gas and oil experienced a significant residence time in the
water column with no opportunity for the release of volatile species to the
atmosphere. Hence, water-soluble petroleum compounds dissolved into the water
column to a much greater extent than is typically observed for surface spills” (John M. Hayes, 2011)
(Richard Camilli, 2010) Concludes
that after deep water explosion more than 400 million barrel of oil was
released into the Gulf of Mexico that is app. 636 million litres. Its depth is
about 1500 m below the surface of the sea.
Evidence shows that the deepwater horizon oil spill is
the largest marine oil spill that happened in April 2010. Apart of its duration
of stay and its size, it is different from the previous spell because of
various factors like the discharge of spill is not only of oil but a large
amount of natural gas was also released. Also because the spill is in deep sea
ocean, some components of oil and almost all components of gas stay in the deep
sea forming plumes of hydrocarbons in the depth of 1000-1300 m of the sea. The
dangerous components of hydrocarbons were also contained in the oil plumes
along with non-gaseous components such as total xylenes (BTEX), toluene, benzene and methylbenzene. In the deep
sea ocean, the temperature was 4 to 6 degree centigrade, and the temperature
directly affects the physical properties of oil and microbial physiology, both
of these components ultimately influence degrading bacteria of hydrocarbons (Molly C. Redmond
& Paul G., 2011).
Alyson C. Flournoy (2011) described that
several lessons have to be learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill
disaster. By adpting these measures, we
will reduce the risk of future disasters in the economy.
meta-lessons are to endeavor to: (1) learn from the next disaster; (2) learn
from the blueprint of the disaster; and (3) learn from the context of the
disaster” (Flournoy, 2011).
The government and the industry should work together to
establish safety and a culture that facilitate them to learn from their
mistakes .It also depicts the phenomena of “hollow government”, the resouces
lacked by the government and they have the power to protect the interest of the
general public .
The major cause that why explosion
was happened is the cement failure at the bottom of the bore and the bore was
not sealed at that time that results into the elimination or discharge of oil
and gas from the pipeline and was spreading all the Gulf surface. This was
basically a human and mechanical error that the natural gas was enabled under a
terrific pressure to discharge onto a drilling stage, and hence explosion takes
place and it took almost 85-87 days to gain into control. The deep water
horizon and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was also caused because they didn’t
incorporate adequate cement between the production casing (7-inch) and
protection casing (7/8 inch). The failure of BOP is also a issue but it’s
The Gulf of Mexico is contaminated
also and explosion may also results because of poor risk management and also
because staff are not well trained by the companies. The disaster of deepwater
horizon revealed the systematic weaknesses of oil and gas adminsitration.
In the newspaper of THE NEW YORK TIMES
published on 14 SEP, 2011 by John M. Broder, his report says that the main
cause of disaster of Deepwater Horizon was a cement failure at the 18,000 depth
of the well that was also supposed that it include hydrocarbons like gas and
oil. Mechanical errors and human failures are also the reasons of this
In this case of deepwater horizon,
crew members performed various pressure tests in order to determine either well
was sealed or not. The results of these tests were misinterpreted by them and
thought that the well was under their control.
Staff should be trained enough to
cope up with these emergency situations if and when required. Like in this case
of deep water horizon,pressure tests were conducted but misinterpreted by them
(crew). If they were sure that the well was properly sealed by having correct pressure
tests attempted from time to time then situation will be different and can save
from such explosion. But the crew were
trained enough to cope up with these challenge and hence explosion happened
because of these reasons. In this case, the attempt was to use the mechanism of
blowout preventer (BOP) which was failed for sealing of the well. A vehicle
that was opreated remotely should have to be use for BOP’s auto-shear mechanism
actiavtion. The purpose of this is to either block or cut the pipe that
delivers oil to the depth of the gulf surface.
A battery for BOP:
When the disaster happened and the control lines were
completely destroyed after that huge explosion, the crew was closing the safety
valves from the BOP (blowout preventer). There should a safety mechanism in a
blowout preventer which incorporates two separate systems to automatically
switch off the valves whenever BOP lost contact with the surface. In one system
it should have a battery and the second one – a switch.
The system of gas alarm should be properly configured.
A gas detection system was available in the rig also having the alarm and triggered the closure of ventilation fans to prevent the gas
reaching potential causes of ignition, such as the rig’s engines.
Blowout Preventer (BoP):
If the BoP was properly working (which sits
on the ocean floor over the top of the well borehole) and was properly tested
by the crew and the crew are trained enough that they can easily detect the
mixture of gas and mud gathered on the surface of the rig before the explosion.
The crew can close the valve of the BoP