Before The Explosion

GQ has a terrific, eye-opening account of the men who worked on the Deepwater Horizon rig before the disaster struck. The whole piece has a tragic irony to it. You can see what's coming, even if they can't. Money quote:

The problems with Macondo started on his last hitch, about two weeks into the job. Twice drilling had to stopoilmen call it getting stuckonce to patch a crack in the bore hole, then again to drop a cement plug into a tender spot in the subsurface that collapsed around the drill string, the miles of pipe attached to the drill bit. All told, the Horizon lost at least ten expensive days. And no one gets a completion bonus when a well comes in late.

Mike senses the crew is frustrated but still determined, muscling through the final days of a job gone wrong. The well's been drilled almost to depth, 18,000 feet, and then all that will be left is sealing it off until a production rig starts pumping out the oil and gas. Another ten days and the Horizon will move on to another site. And the news on the rig isn't all bad. Next week, executives from BP are flying out to congratulate the crew for its safety record. In seven years, it hasn't lost even an hour of operating time because someone got hurt.