Significant oil spills across the globe

China shut the Dalian Xingang oil port, home to the country's largest oil reserve bases and a major source of crude imports to PetroChina's northeastern refineries, after pipeline explosions spilled oil into the sea.

Maritime safety authorities are battling to contain a 50 sq km (19 sq mile) oil slick after the two crude oil pipelines exploded in the port of Dalian.

Following is a factbox on other significant oil spills around the world. Information has been compiled from Reuters and industry databases and, where possible, figures have been converted into barrels per day from tons, gallons or cubic meters.

Marine Tanker Spills

  • 1979 - The Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain, two fully loaded oil tankers, collided 10 miles off the coast of Tobago in a tropical rainstorm, spilling more than 2,142,000 barrels of oil into the Caribbean.

  • 1991 - The oil tanker ABT Summer exploded about 900 miles off the coast of Angola, spilling its entire cargo of 1,905,800 barrels at sea.

Marine Platform-Offshore Leaks/Blowouts

  • 1979 - The Pemex-operated Ixtoc I offshore well in Mexico's Campeche Bay blew out, spewing up to 3.5 million barrels of crude oil over nine months in the worst offshore spill in North American history.

  • 1969 - The Union Oil Platform A offshore well near Santa Barbara, California blew out, spilling up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil over 11 days and fouling the coastline, leading to broad opposition to offshore drilling and spurring the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1977 - The Phillips Petroleum Ekofisk Bravo platform blew out for 8 days, releasing 202,381 barrels in the North Sea's biggest oil spill. 1983 - In the gulf off Iran a tanker struck a drilling platform, releasing some 1.904 million barrels into the sea. 1988 - In the world's worst offshore accident for human casualties, the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded in the British sector of the North Sea, killing 167 people. 2001 - The Petrobras-operated P-36 offshore production facility exploded and collapsed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, spilling some of the 10,000 barrels of fuel and crude it was storing. 2005 - A fire destroyed the ONGC-owned Mumbai High North processing platform off India's west coast, affecting 123,000 bpd of crude production, or 15 percent of the country's domestic output.

Deliberate Dumping

  • 1991 - During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces opened valves and destroyed oil facilities in Kuwait, releasing about 12,376,000 barrels in the biggest oil spill in history.

Major Oil Company Leaks

  • Shell spilled around 110,000 barrels of oil around the world in 2009, with the lion's share coming from sabotage at their Odidi field in Nigeria and bomb explosions on the Trans Excravos pipeline and discharge, the company said on its website.

  • Chevron spilled around 9,300 barrels of oil on land and water in 2009, according to data available on its website.

  • ExxonMobil spilled around 18,000 barrels of hydrocarbons on land and water in 2009, according to date in its 2009 Corporate Citizenship Report.

  • Total said in its Environment and Society Report 2009 that it spilled 2,409 cubic meters of oil -- around 15,000 barrels -- last year.

  • In May this year ExxonMobil declared force majeure on its Qua Iboe crude oil shipments at its Nigerian unit, affecting as much as 150,000 bpd after a leak was discovered on a key pipeline.

  • In April this year a Chevron-operated pipeline leaked around 500 barrels of oil into the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.

  • In January this year Royal Dutch Shell said it had shut three pumping stations after a key crude oil pipeline in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria was sabotaged, saying some oil had spilled into local creeks.

  • In January this year Enbridge Energy Partners LP shut down one leg of the main pipeline delivering Canadian crude to the United States after spilling around 3,000 barrels in North Dakota.

  • In December last year, BP Plc said ice cracks caused a November leak in one if its Alaskan pipelines, spilling more than 1,000 barrels in the North Slope.

  • April 20, 2010 - Explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon licensed to BP Plc; 11 workers are killed. Rig was drilling in BP's Macondo project 42 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, beneath about 5,000 feet of water and 13,000 feet under the seabed.

  • April 22 - The Deepwater Horizon rig, valued at more than $560 million, sinks and a 5-mile oil slick formed.

  • May 25 - An oil tanker and a bulk carrier collided in waters between Malaysia and Singapore, spilling some 2,500 metric tons of oil.

  • July 6 - Oil sheen spotted off Malaysia's east coast. Oil and gas company Newfield Exploration Co shut down a damaged Malaysian oil pipeline, which caused the oil sheen at the East Belumut field, off Terengganu state.
[Source: Reuters, Beijing, 19Jul10]

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