On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, ultimately killing 11 crewmen, releasing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and triggering one of the most controversial and devastating environmental disasters to date.
At the time, Louisiana State University, and more specifically, the College of Engineering, played a significant role in the response. Five years later, the College’s commitment to the recovery hasn’t waned.
With the fifth anniversary of the disaster just days away, the College of Engineering is reflecting on what we did then and what we’re doing now. Below you’ll find a roundup of coverage highlighting some of our contributions to the recovery, and throughout the remainder of the month, we’ll be publicizing even more on our website and through social media. We invite you to follow along.
If you are a media professional looking to interview one of our faculty members, please consult our oil spill experts guide, or contact Sydni Dunn at 225-578-5706.
What We Did Then ...
Faculty monitored the impact of the oil on the marsh land as it came ashore; assessed the effects of dispersants used to break up the oil slicks; served as technical experts for media and the public; developed alternatives to stop the flow when it was at its peak; and advised the government throughout the process.
Even students got involved: One group built a working model of a relief well, recorded a demonstration video of how it worked, and shared it with thousands of viewers on YouTube.
… What We’re Doing Now
Not only is the LSU College of Engineering continuing to explore better ways to train students andprofessionals, it’s improving extraction and cleanup technology and techniques, and measuring the long-term impact of the spill.
It has also remained committed to research on all levels. Undergraduate students enrolled in blowout prevention courses recently completed a case study evaluating what caused the explosion at Macondo Bay and how it could have been avoided, and a graduate student who studies how breaking waves transported oil and dispersant materials into the atmosphere is representing LSU at a regional presentation competition this month.