The 15 Biggest Oil Spills

Where Deepwater Horizon falls: A map of the worst spills in history.


Where’s the Exxon Valdez on the map of biggest oil spills, you might be wondering? Well, at 262,000 barrels spilled, it doesn’t make the cut. Not even close. The smallest spill pictured below was 871,000 barrels. The Deepwater Horizon, even using BP-provided estimates, is now the world’s second-largest spill of all time, right after the oil that Saddam Hussein intentionally dumped in 1991. This map does not account for chronic spills, as in the Niger Delta, polluted by at least 13 million barrels. And it shows the problem of identifying the culprits: In three instances, the responsible party is still unknown.

The 15 Biggest Oil SpillsIllustration: Nicholas Felton

Read also: MoJo‘s complete BP coverage, Julia Whitty on the oil spill cover-up, and the rest of our special report on BP’s deep ocean secrets.

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