This led to an expansion of oil wells in the Campeche Sound. It surpassed the Amoco Cadiz oil spill that leaked 68 million gallons of oil off the coast of Brittany, France in In the early hours of June 2, , the Ixtoc well started to lose drilling mud, and circulation was lost in the well. Unfortunately, those two wells did very little to stop the spread. During the days that the well remained uncapped, , metric tonnes of oil 3.

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The Ixtoc oil spill became one of the largest oil spills in history. On June 2nd, the day before the blowout, the drill hit a spot with soft sedimentary soil that caused a bit weight reduction, also known as a break. As PeMex and Sedco argued over the best course of action oil began to build up in the west well column.

Once the decision was made to remove the drill it was a little to late. Pressure had built to up extremely high, dangerous, and unstable levels. This caused a surge of mud to race up the drill pipe and spill onto the drilling platform. After the surge of mud multiple safety failures occurred creating a chain of events that resulted in the disastrous blow out.

After the blow out the now escaping oil ignited, and once it came into contact with gas fumes from a motor that powered the derrick aboard the platform the Ixtoc exploded at am. The fire burned until about am the next day.

The fire caused the Sedco drilling tower to collapse leading to the total loss of the drilling rig. Oil continued spilling out of the destroyed well for a total of days, until the well was finally capped on March 23, To learn more about the Ixtoc I Oil Spill click here.

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Ixtoc I Oil Spill

In modern rotary drilling, mud is circulated down the drill pipe and back up the wellbore to the surface. The goal is to equalize the pressure through the shaft and to monitor the returning mud for gas. Without the counter-pressure provided by the circulating mud, the pressure in the formation allowed oil to fill the well column, blowing out the well. The oil caught fire, and Sedco burned and collapsed into the sea. Subsequently, the circulation of drilling mud was lost resulting in a loss of hydrostatic pressure.


Ixtoc I oil spill

Due to its high biodiversity, living resources and energy resources, this region is strategic in the national plans for social and economic development of Mexico. The discovery of fossil fuel reserves in the seabed of Campeche Sound in the s promoted the rapid expansion of the national oil industry in offshore waters. Unfortunately, the accidental blowout of the most productive well Ixtoc-I in June of , caused the first—world massive oil spill in a tropical marine environment. More than 3. In the aftermath of this dreadful accident, a growing concern emerged not only for the oil acute effects but also for the long-term environmental consequences derived from the residual hydrocarbon compounds accumulated in coastal environments of the southern Gulf of Mexico. The attempts to assess the magnitude of the environmental damage were strongly precluded by the lack of pre-spill information.

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