In the aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon platform, which is now estimated to be leaking 5,000 barrels of crude each day, many are fearing the worst in terms of the potential environmental and economic impact. But how does this spill stack up to the biggest oil disasters in history?
To get a sense, CNBC.com reviewed data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Mariner Group, an oil spill response firm, to get a sense of which oil disasters have been the worst, by volume of oil spilled.
To get a scope on the economic impact, we calculated the 2010 cost of the oil spilled at the current cost of light, sweet crude at $85 per barrel. However, this does not take into account the cost of cleanup efforts, ecological impact and loss of equipment, which could add millions — or even billions — to the cost.
So, what are the worst oil disasters in history? Click ahead to find out!
10- M/T Haven
Oil Spilled: 1 million barrels
Cost in 2010: $85 million
In April 1991, the M/T Haven suffered a devastating explosion that caused the ship to eventually break in two and sink after three days. The explosion occurred when the ship was unloading fuel into an offshore loading platform near Genoa, Italy, when a routine transfer procedure caused an explosion that caused flames more than 100 meters high and killed six crew members.
Officials estimated that most of the oil burned off, but about 290,000 barrels leaked into the ocean, affecting the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and France for the next decade.
Oil Spilled: 1.02 million barrels
Cost in 2010: $86.7 million
In November 1988, the American-owned Odyssey drilling rig dumped more than 1 million barrels of crude oil after an explosion 700 miles off Canada’s east coast, although most of the oil burned off before salvage and containment efforts could mobilize.