Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

4 Years After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, EPA Lifts BP’s Gulf Drilling Ban

Energy

Nearly four years after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil and gas disaster in the Gulf of Mexico—an event that blew away the record books for the nation's worst accidental oil spill—BP is fully back in business, and drilling is booming in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA satellite imgae on May 20, 2010. Oil smoothes the ocean surface, making the Sun’s reflection brighter near the centerline of the path of the satellite, and reducing the scattering of sunlight in other places. As a result, the oil slick is brighter than the surrounding water in some places (image center) and darker than the surrounding water in others (image lower right). Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifted the ban that prevented BP from engaging in any contracts with the federal government, paving the way for BP to resume bidding on leases for oil and gas development on public lands and waters, including the Gulf. 

BP already holds more than 600 lease blocks—more than any other operator in the Gulf—and they currently have ten rigs working to drill new deepwater wells, like the Macondo well that failed in 2010. 

But they're not the only game in town. There are dozens of other operators working in the Gulf, in deep water and shallow. One of our fans just tipped us off to a nifty dataset that shows just how busy things are offshore here and around the world: the locations of active Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs). Here's a look at the MODUs working right now in the Gulf of Mexico:

Not to be confused with the thousands of fixed offshore oil and gas production platforms, MODUs are the rigs that get towed from place to place to drill new wells, and do maintenance operations on existing wells. They range from the relatively small and simple jack-up rigs that work in shallow water, to the huge and complex semisubmersible rigs, like the Deepwater Horizon, that handle the technically challenging deepwater work. 

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY and OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less