MMS finishes inspecting 30 deepwater drilling rigs, moves on to deepwater production facilities

By Phaedra Friend Troy

At President Obama’s request, the US Minerals Management Service has been conducting inspections of all the deepwater facilities in the US waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The MMS has concluded its inspections of all 30 deepwater drilling rigs currently conducting operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The governmental agency has now moved on to inspecting all of the deepwater production facilities in the gulf.

Furthermore, the MMS is working with BP to stop the oil spill, and all plans for stopping the oil leak or fighting the oil in the water and along the coast are reviewed and approved by the MMS.

The oil spill is a direct result of a fire and explosion that occurred on the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig April 20. BP, Transocean and the US Coast Guard immediately responded rescuing rig staff and searching for 11 missing personnel, who are now presumed dead.

Following the fire, the drilling rig sunk to the seafloor 5,000 feet below, and oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico since.

An extensive team of 16 federal agencies are now involved in the effort to protect the US Gulf Coast from the oil spill, in an above and below the water oil spill response plan.

Thus far, the oil spill response effort includes a team of 10,000 working to protect both wildlife and the shoreline. More than 1 million feet of boom has been deployed to contain the spill, and about 325,000 gallons of dispersant has been deployed.

To date, about 3.5 million gallons of a mix of oil and water has been retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico. There are 275 vessels supporting the offshore efforts, as well as air support, ROVs and two deepwater drilling rigs. Also, there are 13 staging areas in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana set up to protect the Gulf Coast shoreline.

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