Deepwater Horizon
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Basic Information

Deepwater Horizon was the name of an oil rig that sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. On April 20, 2010, the rig was in the final stages of digging a well for the British Petroleum company, when there was an unexpected explosion that killed 11 crewmen. Two days later (April 22) the rig had sunk, leaving a gushing oil well beneath it that threatens the ecosystem of the entire Gulf region.

The rig itself was 396 feet (121 meters) long, and 256 feet (78 meters) wide, and just one of more than 200 rigs in the world capable of digging wells in such deep water. Its sunken remains are now under 5,000 feet (1500 meters) of water, about a quarter of a mile (400 meters) North West of the wellhead and source of the oil spill.

The rig had a series of safety issues, which were known to BP (British Petroleum) nearly a year before the disaster, but were largely ignored, according to tech-blog Gizmodo. It's very similar to the Hurricane Katrina situation where authorities knew the levees might break, but seemed utterly unprepared for it when they eventually did.


Game and Story Use

  • This disaster, or others in the future like it, could be used as the all-too-believable catalyst for the collapse of the ecosphere, or for a major political shift twenty minutes into the future. What impact will this have on the shape of the world and the political landscape?
    • Perhaps a Hurricane spreads the oil across a wider area, or to places unanticipated. Large storms can cause swells that wash ocean water up rivers, possibly spreading the oil far inland.
  • In a more over-the-top game, a godzilla-like mutant is born of the contamination, or a some sort of ancient slumbering monster (anything from a Megashark to a Eldritch Abomination) is awoken by the explosion or the oil leak. As if oil and contamination weren't disaster enough, a towering kaiju is added to the mix.
  • Decades from now, a rival Megacorp exploratory team visits the sunken rig (using bioengineering or cybertech to survive the toxic environment). They are shocked to discover something even more sinister than human greed and incompetence lead to the wreck.
    • It is now haunted, or inhabited by the mutants and monsters mentioned in the previous idea.
    • Maybe destroying the rig was the intentional work of a criminal mastermind or mad scientist, attempting to restructure global politics or economics. There was no James Bond to stop them, and so the structure of the dark and dreadful cyberpunk world is based on their having been successful in their evil schemes.
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