July 22, 2024

How Big Was The BP Gulf Disaster? Really Big

Late last month more than 1 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, the biggest oil accident in the Midwest ever. This has been the year of understanding the oil/water nexus, even if it’s seawater.

This week the U.S. estimated that the BP Gulf blowout poured 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. Even with the 800,000 barrels that BP said it collected and skimmed, the disaster is, by most measures, the largest ever. That includes the mess Saddam Hussein unleashed after the first Gulf War in 1991. Kellyn Eberhardt, a colleague at the US Climate Action Network, sent these confirming statistics.

Gulf War oil spill: January 23, 1991
2,000,000 – 6,000,000 barrels
84,000,000 – 250,000,000 gallons
270,000 – 820,000 tons


Deepwater Horizon oil spill: April 20, 2010
4,900,000–8,700,000 barrels
154,600,000–348,000,000 gallons
414,000–1,186,000 tons


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