Publication Date

2017-05-04

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2017-05-04

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Applied Marine Physics (Marine)

Date of Defense

2017-04-06

First Committee Member

Claire B. Paris

Second Committee Member

M. Josefina Olascoaga

Third Committee Member

Zachary Aman

Abstract

During the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and approximately 770,000 gallons of chemical dispersants were injected directly at the Macondo wellhead attempting to keep the oil submerged. Despite conducting thorough research in the past seven years, a detailed empirical analysis as the oil was spewing from the wellhead and after the well capping, has not yet been completely undertaken. Recently, BP made available a unique dataset (“Gulf Science Data”) of oil samples collected from May 2010 to July 2012. In this research, we examine this comprehensive dataset to determine the spatial-temporal distribution of the chemical signature of Macondo oil up to December 2010. We also analyze the hydrocarbon chemical data depending on the variable dispersant application period to provide an exhaustive sub-sea dispersant injection (SSDI) analysis. Additionally, the Gulf Science dataset is also used to investigate the role of Earth’s rotation on the plume dynamics. Our spatial data results confirm the presence of the so called “deep-plume” (i.e. a dominant intrusion layer centered around 1,100 m). The SSDI robust linear regression analysis reveals no significant differences on the vertical structure of the oil plume with variable dispersant injection, ranging from no dispersant to ca. 22,000 gal/day, thus questioning the effects of SSDI for deep-sea oil spills. Despite inhomogeneous sampling, the comprehensive BP Gulf Science Data sheds some light on understanding the nature of deep blowouts and required responses.

Keywords

Subsea Dispersant Injection; Gulf Science Data; Deepwater Horizon; Oil Spill

Figure2.1.png (2591 kB)
Figure2.2.png (199 kB)
Figure2.3.png (138 kB)
Figure3.1.png (72 kB)
Figure3.2.png (95 kB)
Figure3.3.png (33 kB)
Figure3.4.png (121 kB)
Figure3.5.png (32 kB)
Figure3.6.png (30 kB)
Figure3.7.png (51 kB)
Figure3.8.png (44 kB)
Figure4.3.png (68 kB)
Figure4.4.png (112 kB)
FigureS1.png (445 kB)
FigureS2.png (374 kB)
Figure4.4.png (112 kB)

Share

COinS