Macondo Prospect

oil spill

The Macondo Prospect (Mississippi Canyon Block 252, abbreviated MC252) is an oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The prospect was the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010 that led to a major oil spill in the region.

The name Macondo is the same name as the fictitious cursed town in the novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Colombian nobel-prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Oil companies routinely assign code names to offshore prospects early in the exploration effort. This practice helps ensure secrecy during the confidential pre-sale phase, and later provides convenient names for casual reference rather than the often similar-sounding official lease names. Names in a given year or area might follow a theme such as beverages (e.g., Cognac), heavenly bodies (e.g., Mars), or even cartoon characters (e.g., Bullwinkle), but usually have no geological or geographical significance to the prospect itself.

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