As officials continue to carry out cleanup efforts from the deadly April 20 BP oil spill, one thing is clear: The Gulf Coast spill is one of the worst in history, it is estimated that the spill is releasing between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels of oil each day.
Oil seepage is a natural part of our oceans makeup and may help us put these figures into perspective. It is estimated that in the Gulf of Mexico alone, over 5,000 barrels of oil a day (220,000 gallons/day, over 80 million gallons a year!) seeps out from vents in the earth into the ocean.
While oil seepage occurs naturally and the worlds oceans deal with millions and millions of gallons of oil every day, there is good reason to be concerned with the addition of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil each day off the coast of Louisiana.
* Counter by Associated Press
- The Gulf of Mexico Spill 2010 is also referred to as the Macondo Blowout, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the BP Oil Spill, the BP Oil Disaster or the Louisiana oil spill.
- The spill stems from a sea floor oil gusher that resulted from the 20 April 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.
- The explosion killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others.
- The resulting oil slick covers at least 2,500 to 4000 square miles (6,500 km2), fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions.
- At approximately 9:45 p.m. CDT on 20 April 2010, methane gas from the well, shot up and out of the drill column under high pressure, expanded onto the platform, and exploded.
- The oil rig sank on April 22, 2010 a large oil slick began to spread at the former rig site.
- The spill has surpassed in volume the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the largest ever to originate in U.S.-controlled waters. (Ixtoc discharged 140 to 148 million gallons)
- By 4 June, the oil spill had landed on 125 miles (201 km) of Louisiana’s coast, had washed up along Mississippi and Alabama barrier islands, and was found for the first time on a Florida barrier island at Pensacola Beach.
- The US Coast Guard estimates that 170 vessels, and nearly 7,500 personnel were participating, with an additional 2,000 volunteers assisting.
- By 17 June over 220 lawsuits were filed against BP alone. Lawsuits have also been filed against Transocean, Cameron International Corporation, and Halliburton Energy Services, it is considered likely that these will be combined into one court as a multidistrict litigation.
- On 16 June, after meeting with President Obama, BP executives agreed to create a $20 billion spill response fund.
- On 24 May the federal government declared a fisheries disaster for the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Initial cost estimates to the fishing industry were $2.5 billion.
- On 23 June, NOAA ended its fishing ban in 8,000 square miles (21,000 km2) square miles, leaving 78,597 square miles (203,570 km2) with no fishing allowed, equal to about one-third of the Gulf.
- On 5 July BP reported that its own expenditures on the oil spill had reached $3.12 billion, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid, and federal costs.
- The United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990 limits BP’s liability for non-cleanup costs to $75 million unless gross negligence is proven. BP has said it would pay for all cleanup and remediation regardless of the statutory liability cap.