Oil rig explosion

By United Press International  |  April 27, 2010 at 8:35 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, April 27 (UPI) -- Oil company emergency teams worked to place a containment dome over a Gulf of Mexico well leaking oil following an explosion that destroyed a massive oil rig.

A week after a fiery explosion on the rig Deepwater Horizon, likely caused when workers unexpectedly hit a hydrocarbon pocket that caused pressure to build, teams from BP were trying to cap the well about 1 mile below the surface of the Gulf.

Workers had been using robotic submarines but they weren't able to shut off the flow and stop the approximately 1,000 barrels a day escaping the wellhead. Teams were also racing to drill a second well to pull oil from the original source but that solution isn't expected to be completed for several weeks.

So engineers were fashioning a dome to be fitted over the wellhead to hold the oil until the second well can be completed. The plan has the dome trapping escaping oil so it can be transferred to surface storage tanks.

Officials estimated the oil slick associated with the Deepwater Horizon explosion has spread over nearly 2,000 square miles. Workers hoped to keep the spill from reaching Louisiana's Gulf shore about 50 miles north of the incident site.

The slick floated near another drilling rig -- the Ocean Endeavor -- leading to an evacuation of that facility.

Eleven workers from the Deepwater Horizon, which had more than 100 people on board when the April 20 explosion occurred, are missing and presumed dead.

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