Spilling oil is something China may have in common with other countries, but who spills the most?

MSNBC reported on BP’s April 20, 2010 oil spill disaster. After an explosion that killed 11 workers and injured 17, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Fishing industries and tourism was devastated while oil washed ashore turning beaches black with goo.

A few months later in July 2010, the BBC reported on China struggling to recover from their worst oil spill disaster ever—about 18 to 28 million gallons of crude oil spilled.

China was new to this type of disaster and yet, they quickly mobilized an army of volunteers and anglers to help clean the pollution from the area around the port of Dalian, one of China’s most important strategic oil reserves.

China’s oil spill came from an explosion in an oil pipeline. Witnesses report that China may have responded faster than the US did for the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline that exploded belonged to China National Petroleum Corporation.

Using this list published by Foreign Policy Magazine of the world’s largest oil spills, let’s see how China’s oil spill compares? I mean, who spilled more oil?

In January 1991, As Iraqi forces withdrew from their position in Kuwait, they sabotaged hundreds of wells, oil terminals, and tankers. Between 160 million and 410 million gallons poured into the Persian Gulf.

In June 1979, the IXTOC 1 Oil Well exploded spilling 138 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico.

In July 1979, 90 million gallons of oil spilled into the ocean 10 miles off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago.

In February 1983, 80 million gallons of oil spilled into the Persian Gulf during the height of the Iran-Iraq war when an oil tanker hit the Nowrux Field Platform causing a leak that couldn’t be capped for months because the platform was under constant attack by Iraqi planes.

In May of 1991, 80 million gallons spilled into the ocean 900 miles off the coast of Angola when a tanker holding 260,000 tons of crude exploded.

Foreign Policy Magazine didn’t list the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989 where about 11 million U.S. gallons of oil spilled into Prince William Sound. For a more complete list of global oil spills, check this list on Wikipedia. Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page so you don’t miss anything. You may notice that only 3 are listed for China versus the 62, I counted for the U.S.

Is this the price we must pay for a world that depends on oil/coal for electricity and transportation while the oil and coal industries all but ignore alternative sources of power, and people like the Koch brothers often succeed at pressuring the U.S. government to do little to nothing?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.


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13 Responses to Spilling oil is something China may have in common with other countries, but who spills the most?

  1. On thi I’m country neutral. These oil spills are destroying vast stretches of the ocean environment. The price tag will be one we can never ever pay and it doesn’t matter who does the spilling. The result is a disaster for the planet.

    • True. Too bad the oil and coal industries have too much money and too much clout in the Congress and in state legislatures.

      I wonder what creates more pollution. The industry that makes the batteries for Hybrids and Tesla all electric cars or the oil/coal industry? I think we already know the answer.

      I’ve read that there is pollution from the production of rare earth minerals necessary to make this high-tech lithium batteries but I suspect it isn’t anywhere close to what the oil/coal industry causes.

      • Not yet … but eventually? All of it collectively is enough to poison the world. All of us. Everywhere. Regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity, or personal position on ecology. It make me crazy that this is a subject for debate. This isn’t a negotiation. It’s a lethal reality.

      • Ah, but people like the Koch brothers, Bill Gates and the Walton family have the money to build a perfect paradise—-under their own personal dome anywhere in the world that’s guarded by an elite private security force. The rest of us are stuck outside living under the rules they write.

      • Sad but true. On the up side, we could be stuck under the dome in Chester’s Mill, Maine. That would be worse 🙂

      • Maybe it would be worse. What about being stuck under a dome with the Koch brothers and the Walton family in addition to the NY and NJ governors?

      • Now THAT would be the final nightmare. Oy.

      • The cherry on top of that nightmare banana split could be Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, G. W. Bush and even Obama.

      • Dinner conversation could be a bit strained.

      • I suspect we wouldn’t be at the table. We’d be washing the dishes and putting out the garbage and wouldn’t be allowed upstairs—ever. In fact, we probably would have to sleep in the stables with the horses or with the pigs in their pens, and to eat, we’d have to muck out both.

      • The horses and the pigs would probably be better — and more entertaining — company. Animals are good people.

      • Agreed! Spending too much time with the two legged, box-jellyfish like oligarchs might give me murderous thoughts.

        The box jellyfish is ghostly and squishy, with 24 eyes and a tangle of tentacles, each equipped with about 5,000 stinging cells. The creatures pack a special type of venom — the most deadly in the animal kingdom — that is activated by contact with certain chemicals found in fish, shellfish and humans. The venom can cause cardiac arrest, cripple the nervous system, and eat away skin. Several victims stung at sea die before they reach shore.

        Or maybe they are more like the black mamba, saltwater crocodiles, or even mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.

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