Oil spill containment system lowered into the Gulf of Mexico over night

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The domed oil containment system developed to stem the oil spill occurring 5,000 feet below the water’s surface in the Gulf of Mexico was deployed Thursday night.

The drillship Discoverer Enterprise was successfully inspected by the MMS and approved to operate the cofferdam oil containment system May 6. The drillship will process the oil water pumped from the cofferdam via a riser.

Over night Thursday, the oil containment system was lowered by the offshore drilling rig while crewmembers looked on from the sea vessel Joe Griffin.

A controlled burn was lit above the water for the second day in a row May 6. The controlled burn successfully removed oil from the water’s surface in an attempt to protect the shoreline of the Gulf Coast.

The first controlled oil burn was conducted April 28, but subsequent efforts were thwarted until May 5 because of unfavorable weather.

Additionally, two drilling rigs are slated to drill two relief wells to help stem the oil spill.

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.

While one of the three subsea locations from which oil was spilling has been plugged, the rate of flow remained at an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day. Hopes are pinned on the domed oil spill containment system that is being installed subsea.

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