BP, British Petroleum, is an energy company, engaged primarily in the oil and natural gas, which is based in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the largest companies in the world (since the eighth as the American magazine Forbes) and the third largest firm dedicated to oil and gas after ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell. The worst accidental marine oil spill in history began on April 20, 2010 with an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean and leased by British Petroleum (BP) (Ron, 2010, 78-91). The rig was drilling for oil in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, and at the time of the accident a production casing was being installed by the Halliburton Energy Company. The explosion and subsequent fire resulted in 11 deaths and numerous injuries to men working on the platform while also setting off a gusher that poured an estimated 4.9 billion barrels of oil into the ocean before being successfully capped on July 15.
The oil from this spill first made landfall in Louisiana, and by June had also reached Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The oil slick (oil on the surface of the water) dissolved more rapidly than expected, but because oil also spreads underwater the extent of the damage caused by the spill has not yet been determined. A study in August 2010 suggested that there was a huge plume of dispersed oil in the Gulf of Mexico, which could pose a threat to wildlife for years to come. The oil spill also imposed a severe economic burden on people living on the Gulf Coast; with the hospitality, fisheries, and energy industries being particularly affected (Robertson, 2010, 7-11)
On April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon, an exploratory drilling rig located in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, exploded. The blast, caused by a sudden surge of natural gas that somehow ignited, killed 11 workers aboard the rig (Caldwell, 2008, 153-164). Two days later, the rig sank into the water, causing severe damage to a pipeline that extended from the rig through 5,000 feet of water and 13,000 feet of seafloor sediment, to a natural oil reservoir within the Earth's crust. Immediately, oil began gushing from the damaged pipes into the surrounding waters at a tremendous rate up to 100,000 barrels a day, according to some estimates—causing untold harm to the environment. Oil continued to pour out for at least three months after the blast. This was not merely an ecological disaster, wrote Rolling Stone journalist Tim Dickinson. It was the most devastating assault on American soil since 9/11 (Richard, 2009, 88-99).
Built in 2001, Deepwater Horizon was owned by Transocean Ltd., a multinational offshore drilling contractor that builds drilling rigs all over the world to be leased by energy companies. The company that was leasing Deepwater Horizon when it exploded was the London-based multinational BP PLC, the world's second-largest energy ...