KEY WEST, Florida Keys — An announcement Sunday that the blown-out Deepwater Horizon, BP/Transocean oil well in the northern Gulf of Mexico was declared officially dead is welcome news for Florida Keys’ interests.
Following the April 20 explosion and subsequent spill 480 miles northwest of Key West, some experts expressed concerns that oil might become entrained in the Gulf Loop Current and migrate south to the Florida Keys. However, according to officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, there has been no evidence of BP oil remnants affecting the region.
“Despite a heightened awareness and continued search efforts we found no direct (Deepwater Horizon oil) impacts in the Florida Keys,” said Captain Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West, who led the unified command response in the Keys.
A pressure test early Sunday morning confirmed that cement pumped into the bottom of the 18,000-foot-deep well is holding.
The “bottom kill” was the final step in a long process to permanently seal the well that gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico between April 20 and July 15, 2010. Oil flow stopped July 15 after a cap was installed on a failed blowout preventer.
“We can now state, definitively, the well poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico,” said retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the federal government’s point person for the disaster.
Florida Keys travel information is available at www.fla-keys.com