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Related Rates of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

by Natalee Judson


Submitted : Spring 2017

The Deepwater Horizon was a 10-year-old semi-submersible drilling rig, extracting oil and gas from the Macondo well, found 13,000 feet under the sea floor off the coast of Louisiana. On April 22, 2010, a massive explosion sank the rig and spilled over 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This tragic incident brought to light the dangerous risks of environmental disasters while off-shore drilling.  

The goal of this project is to determine an optimal radius for an effective containment boom to prevent the dispersion of crude oil throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico. By establishing a mathematical relationship between the dispersion of oil and the modeling of the oil’s displacement as a circular area, an appropriate containment boom radius can be determined. With data from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the average emergency response time of a vessel equipped with booms, a radius of 186.6 meters will adequately contain the oil from further spreading.

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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Connie Mizak, Geography
Suggested By :
Connie Mizak
Related Rates of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill