The 10 biggest oil spills: the Gulf War

Oil & Gas IQ

Since the dawn of modern oil exploitation in the 19th century, a sad but inevitable truth has rung true: accidents happen and oil spills. The ten biggest oil disasters in the oil and gas industry and gas industry in this list amount to a cumulative hydrocarbons loss of 40.8 million barrels and cost 53 lives:

1. The Gulf War Oil Spill

When: January 19th , 1991
Where: Persian Gulf & Kuwait
Casualties: n/a
Amount spilled: 9.05 – 12.4 million barrels (380-520 million gallons)

As the Parthian shot fired in their retreat from Kuwait during the first Gulf War, Iraqi forces opened the valves of Kuwait oil wells and pipelines. This sabotage was initiated in a bid to slow the advance of American troops and to make the securing of oil reserves problematic for invaders. The resultant oil spill coated the Persian Gulf in 10 centimetre thick crude and spanned an area in excess of 28,000 km2, roughly the size of Albania.


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