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BP Oil Spill: Slippery Numbers

An explosion on British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, is still devastatingly fresh in the minds of millions across the globe. Because the damage caused by the spill was colossal. Close to five million barrels (that is 210 million gallons) of oil spilled on to the Gulf Coast of the United States (US). For 87 days, the oil flowed in to the sea, destroying everything that came its way. Satellite images show the extent of the spill’s impact in an area equivalent to the US state of Oklahoma. However, last month, British Petroleum (BP) top boss Robert Dudley declared that the Gulf Coast is now ‘clear’. But is it? Brentin Mock, Washington, D.C.-based journalist, dug through studies and reports, graphs and journals and crunched some contrary numbers. Here they are.

900 imageBottlenose dolphins found dead or stranded in the oil spill area since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded

500 imageSea Turtles found dead or stranded near the oil spill area between 2011 and 2013

20% imagePortion of the Gulf’s bluefin tuna exposed to oil while in their larval stage

778 miles Kms of coastline BP claims to have cleaned before ending “active cleanup”

$14 billion Money BP says it spent on spill response and cleanup activities

$12.9 billion Money BP says it paid in claims, advances, civil settlements, and payments for tourism promotion, seafood testing, marketing, and health services

$23 billion BP’s profits in 2013

70 million Number of personnel hours BP says it used in the cleanup effort

33,000 Number of cleanup workers and coastal residents exposed to BP oil or dispersant who are being tracked in a National Institute for Health study

17 months Time period BP was banned from all federal contracts

2 weeks Duration of time after that suspension was lifted before BP had another oil spill

5 Number of rigs BP had in the Gulf of Mexico before the spill

10 Number of oil rigs BP currently has in the Gulf

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BP Oil Spill: Slippery Numbers