On April 20, 2010, the DeepWater Horizon oil rig, run by BP, exploded in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly affecting Louisiana, but also Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It was the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. The well was only plugged four months later. One month after the explosion, 53% of Americans felt President Obama had handled the crisis badly or very badly. The oil company was not spared the people’s wrath either. “In China, it’s a more brutal society . . . they execute people for this!” exclaimed commentator Chris Matthews.

© Joshua Drake/BP

Aerial view of an oil slick on Grand Isle coast, Louisinana. (May 22, 2010)

By the Numbers
  • 11
    The number of people
    who died in the explosion
  • 780million
    The number of litres of oil that spilled into the Gulf - 19 times the amount spilled when the Exxon Valdez struck a reef on the Alaska coast, in 1989
  • 7.8billion
    The amount BP paid to
    compensate victims of the “Black Tide”
  • 6,814
    The number of animal carcasses
    (birds, sea turtles, dolphins and others) found on November 2, 2010,
    according to US authorities
  • 22.7billion
    The economic impact on tourism in the region in three years, according to the U.S. Travel Association
Learn more
  • Oil Spill Criticism aimed at the Obama government over the ongoing oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico continued today.
  • Gulf Oil Disaster US president Barack Obama visited an oil-stained beach today to see the continuing effect of the Gulf Coast oil spill that started off the coast of Louisiana over a month ago.