This has gotten some attention over recent weeks. But not that much. Back in 1979, in a different part of the Gulf of Mexico, a similar oil rig (Ixtoc I) blew up more or less like the Deepwater Horizon one did. And a similar amount of oil gushed out. Even more worrisome, Pemex (the Mexican state oil company) tried pretty much all the different approaches to capping the thing that BP is trying now (containment dome, top kill, junk shot, etc.). And they all failed. Eventually it took ten months to shut the thing down and the only thing that eventually got it under control was relief wells — which BP is working on now too but aren’t supposed to be ready until August.
And here’s the worst part. The Ixtoc well was only 160 feet below the water, not 5,000. Rachel Slajda has the story.