NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, 2010 using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument.
With the Mississippi Delta on the left, the silvery swirling oil slick from the April 20 explosion and subsequent sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling platform is highly visible.
The rig was located roughly 50 miles southeast of the coast of Louisiana (NOAA map)
The dramatic oil rig explosion and fire aboard the platform rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast illustrates the growing risk for oil companies as they drill ever deeper into the earth's crust to satisfy domestic and international demand for fuel.
As the US moves to open up more deep water areas for oil exploration and companies prepare to open up deep reserves off the coast of Brazil and Angola, the possible explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, owned by Houston-based Transocean and leased by BP, is a reminder of how the task of supplying the world's oil amid dwindling reserves is becoming ever-more complex – and dangerous – despite technological advancements.
"Deep water drilling is already a high-stakes casino and as geologic risk, capital risk, market risk and engineering risk all come together, they are becoming extraordinarily difficult to quantify," says Robert Bryce, an energy expert at the Manhattan Institute and author of the upcoming book "Power Hungry: The myths of 'green' energy and the real fuels of the future"
-> more on : Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion shows new risks
- Transocean drilling 'incident'
- NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
- Trajectory map of spill (04-27) / Terrasar-X image / ESA Envisat
- The Guardian (04-21 / 04-26)
- The Huffington Post (04-21 / 04-24)
- MODIS images (Optical Oceanography Laboratory, USF)
- Coast Guard considers burning Gulf oil slick to save coastline (CNN)