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Methane Pockets

To understand the possible causes of the Transocean oil drilling disaster, a basic explanation of the disaster is needed. The Deepwater Horizon was a semi-submersible drilling rig that was connected to the sea floor via a drilling string and a series of blowout preventer valves which were connected via a cementing process to the well head. During operation, an explosion occurred, starting a fire on and eventually sinking, the drilling rig. Due to the failure of drilling equipment, there is a deepwater oil leak releasing an estimated 5,000+ barrels of oil per day into the gulf coast.

Methane Pockets

Although normally found in surface mines, methane pockets can exist deep under the ocean floor in the midst of vast pools of oil. Methane is a naturally occurring flammable gas that is generated from the breakdown of organic material. As mining and drilling equipment bores into these pockets, a single spark can ignite the methane, causing a massive explosion. It is suspected that the wellhead of the Transocean drilling operation became contaminated with methane after a pocket was ruptured, thus sparking the massive explosion when the methane reached the surface. The exact cause of the disaster has yet to be determined, however.

If you have been negatively impacted financially, or have suffered a personal loss or injury from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the maritime injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP can help. Contact a maritime lawyer online at Arnold & Itkin LLP or call our maritime law office toll free at 888-498-8212. We will discuss your concerns and provide a candid evaluation of your claim, all as part of a free consultation.

Possible Incident Causes
Blowout Preventer (BOP)
Cementing Process
Methane Pockets
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