Macondo Prospect

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Macondo field
Macondo Prospect is located in USA
Macondo Prospect
Location of Macondo field
Country United States
Region Gulf of Mexico
Location Mississippi Canyon
Block 252
Offshore/onshore offshore
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Operator BP
Partners BP (90%)
MOEX Offshore 2007 (10%)
Field history
Discovery 2010
Estimated oil in place 50 million barrels (~6.8×10^6 t)

The Macondo Prospect (Mississippi Canyon Block 252, abbreviated MC252) is an oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The prospect was the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010 that led to a major oil spill in the region.


Oil companies routinely assign code names to offshore prospects early in the exploration effort. This practice helps ensure secrecy during the confidential pre-sale phase, and later provides convenient names for casual reference rather than the often similar-sounding official lease names denoted by, for example, the Minerals Management Service in the case of federal waters in the USA. Names in a given year or area might follow a theme such as beverages (e.g., Cognac), heavenly bodies (e.g., Mars), or even cartoon characters (e.g., Bullwinkle), but usually have no geological or geographical significance to the prospect itself.

The name Macondo had been the winning selection in a BP employee contest as part of an internal United Way campaign.[1] It comes from the fictitious cursed town in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Colombian Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.[2]


The prospect is located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252 of the Gulf of Mexico. BP is the operator and principal developer of the oil field with 90% of interest, the final 10% by MOEX Offshore 2007, a unit of Mitsui.[3][4] Originally, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation owned 25% stake but in October 2011 this was transferred to BP as a part of a wider settlement between the companies.[4] The prospect may have held 50 million barrels (7.9×10^6 m3) producible reserves of oil.[5] It is 40 miles (64 km) offshore[citation needed] and 130 miles (210 km) from New Orleans.[6]


A regional shallow hazards survey and study was carried out at the Macondo area by KC Offshore in 1998. High resolution, 2D seismic data along with 3D exploration seismic data of the MC 252 was collected by Fugro Geoservices in 2003. BP purchased the mineral rights to drill for oil in the Macondo Prospect at the Minerals Management Service's lease sale in March 2008.[7]

Mapping of the block was carried out by BP America in 2008 and 2009.[8] BP secured approval to drill the Macondo Prospect from MMS in March 2009. An exploration well was scheduled to be drilled in 2009.[3]

On 7 October 2009 the Transocean Marianas semi-submersible rig commenced drilling, but operations were halted at 4,023 feet (1,226 m) below the sea floor on 29 November 2009, when the rig was damaged by Hurricane Ida.[9] The Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig resumed drilling operations in February 2010.[3][10]

Deepwater Horizon explosion and blowout

An explosion on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon occurred on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers. The Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, 2010, in water approximately 5,000 feet (1,500 m) deep, and was located resting on the seafloor approximately 1,300 feet (400 m) (about a quarter of a mile) northwest of the well.[11][12][13]

Following the rig explosion and subsea blowout, BP started a relief well using Transocean's Development Driller III on May 2, 2010. The relief well would potentially take up to three months to drill. BP started a second relief well using Transocean's GSF Development Driller II on May 16, 2010.[14]

The well was successfully sealed off from flow into the sea on August 4, 2010 by a "static kill" (injection of heavy fluids and cement into the wellhead at the mudline).[citation needed] To further ensure the plugging of the original well, the first relief well established communication with the original wellbore near total depth and injected heavy fluids and cement. These efforts should have completely sealed off the Macondo Prospect well at that point.[citation needed]

See also


  1. Maass, Peter (2011-09-29). "What Happened at the Macondo Well?". The New York Review of Books. LVIII (14): 38–41. Retrieved 2011-09-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Casselman, Ben; Gold, Russell (2010-05-27). "Unlikely Decisions Set Stage for BP Disaster". The Wall Street Journal; Dow Jones Newswires. Retrieved 2014-02-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Offshore Field Development Projects: Macondo". Subsea.Org. Retrieved 2010-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 O'Cinneide, Eoin (2011-10-17). "BP, Anadarko in $4bn Macondo settlement". Upstream Online. NHST Media Group. (subscription required). Retrieved 2011-10-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Klump, Edward (2010-05-13). "Spill May Hit Anadarko Hardest as BP's Silent Partner". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-05-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Escalante, Linda, "The Macondo Oil Spill", NRDC Switchboard blog, June 7, 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  7. "Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area Lease Sale 206 Information". US Minerals Management Service. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2010-06-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Macondo Prospect, Gulf of Mexico, USA". Net Resources International. Retrieved 2010-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Documents show BP chose a less-expensive, less-reliable method for completing well in Gulf oil spill". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Parsons, Paul. "Part 3 - The Macondo Well". The Macondo Well Blowout.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Robertson, Cambell; Robbins, Liz (2010-04-22). "Oil Rig Sinks in the Gulf of Mexico". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Resnick-Ault, Jessica; Klimasinska, Katarzyna (April 22, 2010). "Transocean Oil-Drilling Rig Sinks in Gulf of Mexico". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Deepwater Horizon Incident, Gulf of Mexico". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Response and Restoration. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2010-04-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Update on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response - 24 May" (Press release). BP. 2010-05-24. Retrieved 2010-05-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links