Telluride's Town Talks: Sambhav Sankar On BP Oil Spill, 7/12

Sankar Headshot Since 1984, the Telluride Science Research Center (TSRC), has been dedicated to providing meeting services for scientists. TSRC’s mission is to inspire substantive scientific inquiry, breakthroughs, and discoveries by hosting scientific meetings in an open environment conducive to productive collaboration and positive contributions to research, policy, and education. TSRC is proud to bring its Town Talk science lecture series to the regional community for the 9th season.

The series continues Tuesday, July 12, 6 – 7:15 p.m., at the Palm Theater, with a lecture by Sambhav N. Sankar on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the mother of all oopsies. Admission is free. A review of the background of the spill requires a look back at the headlines in April 2010.

On April 20, a Transocean drilling rig named the Deepwater Horizon exploded about 51 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana.  Deepwater Horizon had been in the final stages of drilling a well named “Macondo” for British Petroleum (BP) when the well blew out, flooding the rig with flammable hydrocarbons. The rig sank two days later, further damaging equipment on the ocean floor.  The riser pipe that had previously connected the rig to the wellhead now began to pour oil from the reservoir below into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Macondo well continued to flow for three months, making it the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. BP eventually stopped the leak on July 15, 2010, but by that time the well had released about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil or an estimated 53,000 barrels per day.
The U.S. government named BP as the responsible party and committed to holding the company responsible for all cleanup and other damage. President Obama also created the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and ordered it to investigate the root causes of the accident and identify ways of preventing and mitigating future accidents.

Sam Sankar served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, temporarily assigned to the position by the U.S. Department of Justice, where he has served in the Environment and Natural Resources Division since 2007. He attended law school at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and then clerked for several federal judges, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Before attending law school, Mr. Sankar worked as an environmental engineer. He holds a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University and a M.S. in environmental engineering from Stanford University. Sam is also an avid kayaker, skier, woodworker and father, who never misses a chance to visit Telluride.

In his Town Talk, Sam parses the details of the BP spill including what went wrong at the Macondo Well and opportunities to prevent the disaster.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Sam Sankar’s interview. (Due to legal restrictions, the interview will be on Telluride Inside… and Out for just a few days, then be available only upon request.)

Comments are closed.