BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill is eerily reminiscent of an incident that happened 31 years ago when the Mexican well named Ixtoc 1 blew out. The oil spewed for 10 months, says a Texas A&M University oceanographer Norman Guinassa, who has more than 40 years of experience studying the Gulf of Mexico. It was not stopped until a relief well was completed.
Guinassa, says the Deepwater Horizon well and the Ixtoc are very similar events, particularly with regards to their failed efforts to contain the oil leaks.
Ixtoc exploded and the entire rig sank, just like Deepwater Horizon. The cause of the Ixtoc explosion was a failed blowout preventer, also like Deepwater Horizon.
Guinassa says, “There was failure after failure to cap the well, just like today.” But all of those failed attempts to cap Ixtoc were in only 160 feet of water. The exact same methods were used to cap the spill today but in 5,000 feet of water and they also failed.