The myriad infographics we've seen about the BP Gulf spill have all focused on the absolute size of the disaster—and while it's certainly huge, size comparisons don't do justice to the real problem we're facing. That's why Fast Company created this graphic.
The BP Gulf oil spill is the worst ever when you combine its size and location. While it may not be the biggest, as you can see from the graphic, it certainly will be one of the most economically damaging and costly, simply because it occurred in some of America's most productive waters.
All of which is illustrated in this infographic, which we commissioned from the people at NG Oil & Gas.
[Click image for full size]
Let's break down the details. Granted, the current worst-case scenarios could be way off. But if they're remotely accurate (again, not a certainty), then the BP spill is still dwarfed by the Ixtoc spill.
Ixtoc also occurred in the Gulf of Mexico—but in that case, wind and currents managed to contain the damage. And it wasn't nearly as close to sensitive coastlines. Which is precisely the problem with the BP oil spill. Because of where it occurred, clean up and damages will likely reach unsurpassed totals:
As to the environmental impacts, we simply don't know yet. Some have estimated that it will take years to clean up the spill thanks to the use of dispersants that have simply diffused the oil over more area—and we may see after effects of the disaster for generations to come:
Click here for the full-size chart.
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