Study Shows Gulf Spill Largest of Its Kind in History

Nearly five million barrels of oil have gushed from BP’s well — and about 800,000 have been captured by containment efforts —since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, according to the latest data.

That amount outstrips the estimated 3.3 million barrels spilled into the Bay of Campeche by the Mexican rig Ixtoc I in 1979, previously believed to be the world’s largest accidental release.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is the most massive oil spill ever to have fouled the world's oceans, according to US scientists in what they call the most accurate estimate to date. The latest report states that 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's busted well before it was capped last month, putting the Mexican Ixtoc disaster of 1979 into second place.