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The Gulf of Mexico crisis involved an underwater oil spill which was caused by a continuous leak of crude oil from a well in the oil flow system. The spill was a result of an explosion that occurred during a drilling mission of an exploratory well. A large amount of oil was then discovered in water hours later. The American government blamed the disaster on BP, the oil company that leased the drilling company.
This paper seeks to discuss the moves that have since been taken by BP in reaction to the oil spill. The paper will look at the steps that the oil company took in stopping the spill, controlling the spread of the spilled oil as well as the company’s reaction towards the victims of the oil spill.
BP’s Reaction to Stop the Oil Spill
BP employed a variety of measures to stop the oil spill that was widely and heavily criticized as an environmental hazard. One of the company’s initial reactions to stop the spill was the “junk shot method”. In the junk shot method, attempts were made to stop the leak by putting weight on the leaking spot.
In this process, substances like plastics and ropes were to be used to block the flow by covering the point of the spill. The thought was that the covering would counter the pressure and diminish the oil spill. The move was however unsuccessful (Hagerty 1). The next attempt was known as the “top kill”.
The top kill was intended to bring a solid cover to the point of spill by putting a layer of mad cover followed by a cemented layer. This move also failed to stop the oil flow which was spreading into the waters and endangering the inhabitants.
Another effort was then made by trying to siphon the oil from the underground spillage point directly to the earth’s surface by use of pipes from where it could be transported. This also failed the test due mechanical technicalities as the pipes could not efficiently fit into the undersea system (Flower 1).
According to information by British government, the first attempt by BP to stop the spill involved drilling another tunnel that would intersect the original tunnel as mud and cement were being used to clog the point of spill.
The pipes that were being used however became clogged with hydrate gas leading to the abandonment of the method. The move on 31st may of 2011 that saw a connection from the leak to the surface, a process that aided the initial top kill initiative. With the reduced pressure, the leak was then sealed by a replacement of the cap from where the spill was experienced (Great Britain 51).
Reactions to Stop the Spread of the Spilled Oil
BP in collaboration with the American authorities undertook steps to control the spread of the spilled oil. As measures to do this, “ram capping stack” was closed in an attempt shut down the well and prevent further leaks. This was a move to reduce the presence of oil in the water and to control its spread.
There were also moves to collect spilled oil from the sea surface. This was aimed at removing oil from the water surface to prevent its spread to the shores which was considered an increased environmental disaster (BP 1).
BP’s reaction towards victims of the oil spill
The oil spill had a verity of direct and indirect effects on people and companies. There were individual survivors and relatives of victims of the initial blast into the spill as well as the spill that spread to the shores. The BP’s compensation was described as a pay to “legitimate claims”. This meant the compensation were limited to some categories of entities (Clark 1).
BP accepted liability to the gulf crisis and as result agreed to make compensation to the victims of the gulf oil spill with specifications. In an initial and formal agreement that was announced by the United States government, BP had committed itself to a $ 20 billion compensation deal. This was a move to restore the damages caused to the affected parties.
Both individuals and business entities were victims of the spill in a variety of ways. The company’s reaction towards the victims could also be seen to include the cleanup process (Hargety 13).
The compensations were however not on general grounds of availability at the sites affected by the spill, but depended on proof of heavy financial losses caused by physical contact with the spill. This means that the company’s response was not sufficiently extended to all victims of the spill, but was a minimal unavoidable compensation to major losses (Eley 1).
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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a result of an explosion that occurred during a renovation process. The company that was carrying out the renovation process was under lease to the BP Company and as a result forced the oil company to take liability of the oil spill. The reaction of BP to the crisis included moves to counteract the consequences of the spill.
The moves included: steps to stop the spill, like sealing the source of the leak; moves to stop the spread of the oil on the water surface and reactions to claims of compensation to the victims. There was however notable inefficiencies in the reactions by BP since all the three levels of reaction faced major challenges.
BP. Update on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill – 19 July. BP, 2011. Web.
Clark, Andrew. BP hit by avalanche of compensation claims over US oil spill. Guardian, 2011. Web.
Eley, Tom. BP “claims czar”: No compensation for most victims of oil spill. WSWS, 2011. Web.
Flower, Merlin. Nuking the oil spill: nuclear option being considered? Oil Price, 2010. Web.
Great Britain. Uk Deep water Drilling: Implications of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. London, UK: The Stationery Office, 2011. Print.
Hagerty Curry. Deep water Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress. New York, NY: DIANE Publishing, 2010. Print.