Processing Magazine

Weather Delays Oil Cleanup at Gulf Rig Blast Site

April 26, 2010
The Associated Press reports that stormy weather delayed weekend efforts to mop up leaking oil from a damaged undersea well after the explosion and sinking of a massive rig off Louisiana''s Gulf Coast that left 11 workers missing and presumed dead. The leak was a new discovery Saturday and could have begun when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank Thursday, two days after the initial explosion that sent smoke soaring high over the northern Gulf. Experts studying the size of the slick and data obtained from remotely operated vehicles estimate as much as 1,000 barrels -- or 42,000 gallons -- of oil is leaking each day. The sheen extended 20 miles by 20 miles Saturday -- about 25 times larger than it appeared to be a day earlier, Landry said. By comparison, Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons in Alaska''s Prince William Sound in 1989 -- the worst oil spill in U.S. history. For days, the Coast Guard had said no oil had appeared to be escaping from the well head on the Gulf floor. But the leak reported Saturday raised concerns about a possible environmental threat to the fragile marine ecosystem.