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Remember the black tide of the Gulf of Mexico? It happened nearly two years ago when two oil rigs exploded releasing in Gulf of Mexico rivers of hydrocarbons. The greatest damage was caused by the failure of a British oil rig, Deepwater.
Who caused the black tide of the Gulf?
On April 20, 2010, an oil rig named Deepwater Horizon, the size of two football fields, broke down. Deepwater was owned by the Swiss company Transocean but operated by British Petroleum. It will be British Petroleum that will have to answer for the damage caused by the platform which lay 80 kilometers off the Louisiana coast, in Gulf of Mexico.
It took the technicians about four months to stop the leak and into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, millions of liters of oil have been lost. The estimates made are unclear and range from a minimum of 506 to a maximum of 868 million liters of hydrocarbons dispersed in water, giving rise to the terrible black tide of the gulf.
After nearly two years, justice will be done. This March the British Petroleum, the UK's leading energy company, will have to answer in court for the environmental and human damage caused by the breakdown of Deepwater. The trial was supposed to take place last February but the first hearing was postponed to March 5. The reason for this postponement? The parties involved are seeking an agreement according to which the English company should compensate a large sum of money for the damages caused by black tide.
The compensation for damages that the British group will have to support ranges from 15 to 30 billion dollars, even in this case the estimates vary a lot. Off Louisiana I will end up about 5 million barrels of oil which at first required the use of 7 million liters of solvents. Solutions released in water to buffer the damage caused by the crude oil. Furthermore, the British Petroleum had the duty to clean the beaches of tar but after some time, after the first investigations, the company had not yet mobilized and needed several reminders before carrying out the rearrangement work.
Finally next Monday justice will be done for what was defined by all as the environmental disaster most expensive of all time. There is no unit of measurement that can count environmental damage but for a long time, it seems that every year an environmental disaster recurs, 2010 was that of Black tide of the Gulf, 2011 that of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Let's hope 2012 will be a disaster-free year.