An Oil Spill Worst-Case Scenario
While the oil has stopped flowing from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s important to note that the cap is a temporary fix. Relief wells are still being drilled that will, if all goes according to plan, permanently stop the flow of oil into the ocean.
The Associated Press lays out the “worst-case scenario”:
If the cap holds, if the sea floor doesn’t crack and if the relief wells being prepared are completed successfully, this could be the beginning of the end for the spill. But that’s a lot of ifs, and no one was declaring any sort of victory beyond the moment. [...]
The worst-case scenario would be if the oil forced down into the bedrock ruptured the seafloor irreparably. Leaks deep in the well bore might also be found, which would mean that oil would continue to flow into the Gulf. And there’s always the possibility of another explosion, either from too much pressure or from a previously unknown unstable piece of piping.