Built to spill

Deepwater Horizon leak climbs up list of all-time spills

The oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has been spilling into the ocean waters for more than five weeks now. Using the live oil-leak ticker on the PBS News Hour website, you can slide between different estimates for gallons per day of leakage and see in real time how much oil has spilled into the water so far. As of noon on June 1, sliding from the USGS current estimate of 504,000 gallons a day to scientists’/experts’ worst-case scenario of 4.2 million gallons a day, the total amount of oil spilled into the water was anywhere from 20,412,000 to 175,950,000 gallons. No matter which estimate bears out, it seems certain that this spill will surpass the Exxon Valdez disaster, and the Deepwater Horizon is poised to crack the top 10 spills of all time, possibly even surpassing the last big Gulf of Mexico spill (the Ixtoc I well blowout) and taking over number two.

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Oil spill Year Total gallons (in millions) Gulf War, Persian Gulf 1991 420-462 Ixtoc I, Gulf of Mexico 1979-1980 138.6-147 Atlantic Empress, Trinidad and Tobago 1979 88.2 Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan 1992 88.2 Nowruz, Persian Gulf 1983 79.8 ABT Summer, Angola 1991 79.8 Castillo de Bellver, South Africa 1983 77.7 Amoco Cadiz, Brittany, France 1978 67.2 Amoco Haven, Mediterranean 1991 44.5

Sources: www.greenpeace.org and www.pbs.org/newshour.