The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Search Continues for Missing Crew Members

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 23, 2010

The U.S. Coast Guard reported this morning that the search is continuing for the 11 missing crew members of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) caught fire on Tuesday and sank yesterday, causing concerns about a potential oil spill.

The Coast Guard says that remotely operated vehicles (ROVS) that are monitoring the well indicate that no oil appears to be leaking from the well head. There is a sheen on the water described as approximately one-mile long and five-miles wide that is being managed by vessels with containment booms. BP says one million feet of booms will be in place to help contain the sheen by today. (Houston Chronicle) Booms, which float on the surface and have a skirt that extends into the water, are very effective at corralling oil.

Rig_Fire_Oil_Spill_026.jpg"We have contingency plans in place... and the full resources of BP are being mobilized to implement those plans," said David Rainey, vice president of Gulf exploration for BP. (AP)

The Marine Spill Response Corp., which is supported by the oil and shipping industry to handle spills, is on the scene now with seven skimmer boats that collect and clean oily water, four planes that can spray dispersants, and nearly 95 miles of containment boom.

ROVS also are examining the condition of the blowout preventer, which is a system of valves that is designed to shut off a well. BP says if the preventer is damaged, a nearby rig could drill a new well to intersect the first well and pump in "kill fluid" to plug it.

The Minerals Management Service says it conducted three inspections of the Deepwater Horizon this year and found no violations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.