On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded. It sank two days later. Eleven people died in the explosion, which triggered an oil spill that, as of April 2014, is the worst environmental disaster in American history.
 
The Deepwater Horizon was a multinational organization. The sophisticated platform was built by a South Korean company, Hyundai Heavy Industries. It was owned by a Switzerland-based company, Transocean, and registered by the Marshall Islands. BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, leased the Deepwater Horizon. The Macondo Prospect, where the platform was drilling, is an oil field in the U.S. sector of the Gulf of Mexico, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) off the Louisiana coast.
 
Survivors of the Deepwater Horizon explosion say it was caused by a build-up of pressure as natural gas surged from the well, deep beneath the seafloor. The well continued to gush oil into the Gulf, at a rate of about 62,000 oil barrels a day, for 87 days.
disaster
Noun

terrible and damaging event.

drill
Verb

to make a hole using a rotating digging tool.

gush
Verb

to flow suddenly and forcefully.

Noun

structure protecting a harbor or inlet from a larger body of water.

lease
Verb

to rent, or buy for use during a specific time period.

multinational organization
Noun

groups of nations concerned with a political, economic, or environmental cause.

Noun

type of fossil fuel made up mostly of the gas methane.

offshore
Adjective

having to do with facilities or resources located underwater, usually miles from the coast.

oil
Noun

fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

oil barrel
Noun

unit of measurement for oil and other petroleum products in the United States equal to 159 liters or 42 gallons. Abbreviated bbl.

oil field
Noun

region with a large number of oil wells or other extractive technologies.

oil platform
Noun

large, elevated structure with facilities to extract and process oil and natural gas from undersea locations.

oil spill
Noun

accidental release of petroleum products into a body of water, either by an oil tanker or an offshore oil rig.

seafloor
Noun

surface layer of the bottom of the ocean.

sophisticated
Adjective

knowledgeable or complex.

surge
noun, verb

sudden, strong movement forward.