Follow developments about the current disaster at the address above. Lots of news stories are being captured there that you may not find in the MSM.
The things one finds out about when one digs into a subject:
The Ixtoc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by a similar issue (lost mud circulation leading to loss of containment) on a well being drilled by Pemex, the Mexican state oil company in 1979. Ixtoc leaked an estimated 10,000 – 30,000 barrels per day for 9 months (!) until they stemmed the flow with a relief well. That equals 2.5-7.5 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf. Unfrickinbelievable that Ixtoc is not a household word in North America, like Exxon-Valdez.
This spill was the largest in history. It was caused by Iraqi military personnel purposely opening some valves (giant valves, I presume) at the Sea Island oil terminal in order to spill the contents of a bunch of tankers into the Gulf, presumably to foil landings by US marines. The opened valves ended up discharging volumes of oil estimated to be twice that of Ixtoc above into the Persian Gulf.
Montara Oil Spill – Timor Sea, offshore Australia: between 400-2000 barrels per day spilled out of the West Atlas rig last year. The cause of the leak has not been officially released yet, pending an Australian commission report, but an unofficial report (http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/australia-cause-wa-oil-spill-revealed) claims that the well that blew wasn’t properly capped. The rig was being used for a six well program, had suspended and capped the leaking well, and was midway through drilling another well when the cap blew (unofficially). That spill lasted for three months, again with official estimates of volumes varying wildly, and causing much environmental damage in the Timor Sea.