16 Largest Oil Spills in History

by on June 4, 2010

Oil Spill is one of the most dangerous man-made disasters which leave its stains on the environment for a very long time. The recent Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which started in April this year and is continued till date splitting millions of gallons per day, is a live example. One of the biggest in US history which shook the world’s environment. Spill may take few more months or even a year to clean up but according to researchers it will definitely be tampering the biological cycle of living species around the world for more than a decade. As being predicted the oil will penetrate up to the structure of many birds affecting there insulating ability hence making it difficult for them to survive the varying temperatures. Not only birds but oil spill will affect the humans too. While following up the recent oil spill and its hazardous affect on our environment we dug up few more major oil spills in the world history, which are as follows:

Gulf War oil Spill – (January 23, 1991) – One of the biggest oil spill of all times, caused due to the 1990 war of Iraq and Kuwait. Which lead to the spilling of around 462 million gallons of oil resulting in a 13 inch thick layer of slick (Oil and impurities mixture on the top of water surface). It happened because of the Iraqi invasion over Kuwait. In this the Iraqi Forces released a large amount of oil into the Persian Gulf in order to stop the US marines from attacking. The oil spill happened on January 23rd1991, and caused ferocious damage to the wildlife of Persian Gulf. It has been estimated that it will take few more decades for the wildlife there to normalize which is still under its repercussions.

Lakeview Gusher Oil Spill – (March14, 1910)- Popularly known as The Lakeview Gusher Number One and is also regarded as the largest recorded U.S oil well Gusher, Which is located half mile to the east of The Taft Maricopa Highway, midway Sunset oil field in Kern County, California. The Gusher was a result of insufficient and less advanced technology that was being used for the oil drilling. The Spill began on March 14 and it took 18 months and loss of 348 million gallons of crude oil releasing approximately 18,800 barrels of oil per day, before the Gusher came under control.

Ixtoc I oil Spill – (June 3, 1979) – Ixtoc I which was an exploratory oil well in the bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico. On 3rd june1979 the major blowout was caused in the well which resulted in the third largest oil spill and second largest accidental spill in the history. In the initial stage of the spill around 30,000 barrels of oil per day was spilled which was continued till 23rd march 1980. a large amount of oil till that time was carried towards the Texas and neighboring coastlines by the sea currents, which  hampered around 261 km of the beach and 1421 birds. A whopping amount of $100 million was spent by Pemex The oil Company to clean up the mess.

Atlantic Empress Oil Spill – (July 19, 1979) – An oil Tanker Named the Atlantic Empress was involved in two large oil spills. Which account for the third largest oil spill and the largest ship based spill. Started on 19th July1979, due to a sudden outbreak of tropical rainstorm which lead to a collision between The Atlantic and Aegean Captain another oil tanker sailing in the sea which resulted in Spilling of around 276,000 tones of Crude oil.

Fergana Valley Oil Spill – (March 2, 1992) – Another major oil Spill disaster in the Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan. A total loss of 88 million gallons of oil was calculated due to the spill.

Nowruz Oil Spill – (February 4, 1983) – The Nowruz Oil Field spill, occurred in the Persian gulf, Iran.  The oil spill was the result of an attack by the Iran which also caused a fire in the spill. The ongoing Iran-Iraq war prevented the early actions of capping the well which lead to a prolonged oil spill fire till September 18 1983, leading to the death of 11 people and spill of 100,000 tones.

ABT Summer Oil Spill – ( May 28th 1991) – a sudden outburst of oil causing 260,000 tonnes of oil spill in the Angola area.

Castillo De Bellver Oil Spill – (August 6th, 1983) – Caused due to poor Machinery at the Saldanha Bay in South Africa, because of which around 252,000 tones of the crude oil was wasted in the sea.

Amoco Cadiz – (March 16, 1978) – The Amoco Cadiz a Very Large Crude Carrier that split into two parts due to collision with Portsall Rocks, 5Kilometres off the coast of Brittany. This caused the world’s fifth largest spill. A total damage of around $250 million was estimated.

M/T Haven – (April 11, 1991) – A Troodos Shipping Companies VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) who exploded with 1 million barrels of crude oil , and sank in the coast of Genoa, Italy. Mediterranean was flooded with a huge amount of crude oil leaving the coast of Italy and France polluted for 12 years.

Odyssey – (November 10, 1988) – Another oil tanker which met with an accident in Canada causing a spill of 132,000 tones of crude into the sea. Disturbing the whole wild life in Nova Scotia, Canada for the coming few decades.

Sea Star – (December 19, 1972) – A South Korean tanker which spilled around 115,000 tones of crude into the Gulf of Oman on collision with another VLCC Tanker named Horta Barbosa of Brazil. Both the vessels caught fire, followed by massive explosion and sank in the chest of the deep gulf 5 days later, on December 24th.

Irenes Serenade – (February 23, 1980) – An oil tanker that spilled 100,000 tones of crude oil near Greece.

Urquiola -(May 12, 1976)-  A major accident that happened in Spain lead to the explosion in the oil tanker causing a huge spill of 100,000 tonnes of  crude along the small coast of A Coruna.

Torrey Canyon – (March 18, 1967) – Torrey Canyon a supertanker which was shipwrecked off the western coast of Cornwall, England causing an environmental disaster, leading to a spill of 80,000 tonnes of crude oil.

Deepwater Horizon – (April 20, 2010) – Also Known as the BP Oil Spill, which is still continued for the 45th day, along the Gulf of Mexico. Caused due to the Machinery failure and an immense leakage of crude in the gulf from the Oil Rig. It is now considered as the largest offshore spill in U.S history, spilling around 16,000,000 liters of crude per day. Destroying the flora and fauna of the majority coastal regions around the globe.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Courtney July 22, 2010 at 6:52 am

I would relly like to know what have been the magnatude of the fines imposed over recent years for other oil spills around the American coast. I read in an article a few days ago that the largest to date was some $630,000. Seems like small change compared to the BP fine to date of some $6BILLION but then that was an American oil company. Hage still not ideal what has been the result of Bo Pahl! Was that a Carborundum ‘leak’? and how about the 1,200+ deaths?

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spencer kelly June 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

Oil Spill Eater II
Testing of OSE II by Dr. Tsao of British Petroleum
BioChem Strike Team Leader

Regarding the Effectiveness of OSE II Remediating Oil from Deepwater Horizon, Blow Out, Gulf of Mexico
British Petroleum tested Oil Spill Eater II at Louisiana State University. Relevant sections of BP’s BCST (Bio Chem Strike Team) test results are posted.
British Petroleum formed the Bio Chem Strike Team (BCST). Under the direction of Dr. Tsao, BCST was established in response to the Deepwater Horizon incident by the Alternative Response Technology (ART) program. The BCST consisted of experts from BP, LSU, LDEQ (Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality), USCG (U.S. Coast Guard), OSPR (California), SCAT, and highly experienced oil spill response consultants. Furthermore, BCST operated in conjunction EPA and NOAA.
The tests were conducted with Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry EPA test procedures. PAH and Alkane degradation was quantified.
OSE II showed a great ability to remediate PAH’s, and Alkanes. By the conclusion of the testing time frame, OSE II remediated 80% of both components of the oil. Based on total concentration levels of the PAH’s OSE II actually remediated 200 %of the PAH’s or 162% of the total of both oil fractions.
released by BP which ended up in Bay Jimmy, Louisiana.
This test by a major oil company is the second major testing of OSE II on two of the largest spills on water in the history of Earth caused by Man. Exxon tested OSE II in 1989 and discovered OSE II was the most effective product on Alaskan Crude oil from the Valdez spill.
BP has now successfully tested OSE II on their spill in the Gulf of Mexico which is over 600,000,000 gallons of oil spilled.
Dr. Tsao wrote “After nearly one year since the Deepwater Horizon spill, residual weathered oil remains in many locations. The need for a field trial to establish operational criteria for final bioremediation work plans should be initiated before early Spring 2011.”
The OSEI Corporation after over 16,000 spill clean ups in the past 21½ years, stated the logistics in regard to the successful application of OSE II were worked out some time ago.
The remediation of the PAH’s also verifies that OSE II is an effective first response bioremediation product, and has benefits:
) causes the oil to float which limits the negative toxic impact to the water column or ocean floor of the oil and dispersant
) reduction of the adhesion properties so the oil cannot stick to birds, grass, rock or sand on shorelines
) elimination of fire hazard
) proven non-toxic by the numerous toxicity tests, you can safely wash your hands with it, the TV news program in which Retired Rear Admiral Lively drank some of it
) OSE II causes the oil to float, because of the method in which it goes to work on the oil, it is still very difficult to see
) defined end point of turning the oil into water and CO2
OSE II is the best and only needed oil spill response that will, even at this late date, remediate oil and dispersant currently in the Gulf.

Via http://michellegilstrap.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/response-to-where-is-the-gulf-after-bp-oil-spill-oil-spill-eater-ii-testing-results/

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