RGE Analysts

BP Oil Spill: One Year Later

Today is the one year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that dumped 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A roundup of what has happened so far:

1.8 million gallons of dispersants released.

1.4 million barrels of liquid waste collected and 265,450 barrels of oil burned off.

Microbes supposedly ate the rest of the oil and methane.

Blown-out Macondo well was plugged with cement.


6000 birds reported dead due to the spill.

150 baby dolphins found dead since start of 2011 and 87 endangered sea turtles since mid-March.

BP paid nearly $800 million to state and local governments on the Gulf for cleanup and restoration and $3.9 billion in claims to 177,000 claimants out of a $20 billion trust fund dedicated to the oil spill.

79,000 claims have not yet been processed, particularly complex claims from businesses,and another 43,000 were returned for more documentation.

BP reneged on promise to restore oyster beds.

Around $20 million of emergency grants remains unspent.

Congress introduced 150 bills to improve safety in offshore oil production but passed none.

The liability cap on oil spills and civil penalties for violating offshore drilling rules remains unchanged.

Minerals Management Service was divided into two programs to avoid conflicts of interest between those who collect drilling revenues and those who oversee drilling safety.

U.S. Justice Department sued BP in December 2010.

The national commission investigating the oil spill concluded in January 2011 that the disaster could have been prevented had it not been for “systematic failures in risk management” by BP, Halliburton and Transocean.

The national commission pointed out the need for reform to ensure the political autonomy of regulators.

Alabama and other states that filed suit will have their first hearing on February 27, 2012.

30,000 pages of government emails, draft reports and data on the spill released to the public.

Ex-CEO Tony Hayward now serves as senior independent director at Glencore.

Art, stickers and even a short film have been made about the oil spill. Awareness remains alive.

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Håvard Halland Håvard Halland

PHåvard Halland is a natural resource economist at the World Bank, where he leads research and policy agendas in the fields of resource-backed infrastructure finance, sovereign wealth fund policy, extractive industries revenue management, and public financial management for the extractive industries sector. Prior to joining the World Bank, he was a delegate and program manager for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Colombia. He earned a PhD in economics from the University of Cambridge.