Oil Spills Index - Utility Bidder

Oil Spills Index

In 2022, around 15,000 tonnes of oil infiltrated our waters through leaked tankers. The term ‘oil spill’ is generally associated with releasing oil into water, but this form of human activity can impact both the land and the sea.

Just as it is essential to compare business energy when switching providers, it is paramount that we protect our environment from pollution. Because of this, we have compiled a range of data to reveal which countries are responsible for the most oil spills over the years.

The United States are responsible for 108 oil spills - more than any other country in the world

To kick off our Oil Spills Index, we have compiled a list of every oil spill from 1903 until the present day to find out which countries have polluted the world’s waters on the most occasions. Here’s what we found.

Countries with the most oil spills between 1903-2023

Key: Number of oil spills

Country

Iraq loses more oil per spill than any other country - totalling 545,000 tonnes per spill

The severity of an oil spill’s impact on the environment depends on the amount of oil leaked, but the amount of individual spills does not always correlate with more oil. The list below shows the countries with the most considerable oil loss per spill.

1.

Iraq

There has only been one recorded oil spill in Iraq, but it is one of the biggest in history. During the early 1990s, in an attempt to stop US marines from landing on surrounding beaches, Iraqi forces deliberately leaked around 545,000 tonnes of oil into the Persian Gulf.

Tonnes per oil spill:

545,000
2.

Trinidad and Tobago

Similarly to our first-place entry, Trinidad and Tobago’s position on our ranking results from one large oil spill in which two oil tankers collided and caused 287,000 tonnes of oil to leak into the sea.

Tonnes per oil spill:

287,000
3.

Uzbekistan

A system fault in an oil well leaked crude oil for two months in Uzbekistan before it was finally contained. Unfortunately, this resulted in a total loss of 285,000 tonnes of the substance, which is why Uzbekistan has the third-largest oil loss per spill of any country on our list.

Tonnes per oil spill:

285,000

Countries with the largest amount of oil lost per spill

Key: Total amount of oil lost (in tonnes) Amount of oil lost per spill (in tonnes)

Country

There has been an 88.14% decrease in the number of global oil spills over the last 50 years

During 2022, there were seven recorded oil spills from tankers worldwide, with three of these incidents spilling over 700 tonnes of oil each. But how does this compare to the last 50 years? Here’s what we found.

1973-2022

1

A lot has changed in the last 50 years, evidenced by the considerable difference of 88.14% in global oil spills when comparing the 2022 figures to that of 1973. 50 years ago, there were amendments to the Oil Pollution Act of 1973 in the United States and the implementation of the Prevention of Oil Pollution Act across the UK. Both have likely contributed to reducing the number of oil spills from tankers.

88.14%

2003-2022

2

Between 2003-2022, we have seen a 69.57% reduction in global oil spills from tankers. Also, it is worth noting that only four of the 23 recorded oil spills in 2003 resulted in a leak of over 700 tonnes, a vast improvement from the statistics from 50 years ago.

69.57%

2013-2022

3

There has been a 12.50% decrease in tanker-related oil spills between 2013-2022. During this short 10-year time frame, the number of global oil spills has decreased by just one incident. Although this result is heading in the right direction, improvements will still need to be made in the next ten years.

12.50%

Change in the global number of oil spills from tankers between 1973-2022

Change in the global number of oil spills from tankers between 1973-2022

Impact of oil spills and the future of production

As previously established, we have seen a significant reduction in global oil spills over the last few decades, but progress is still being made. The loss of oil in our environment can impact our lives in more ways than you might think - and not in a good way.

Costly for the climate

Whether it’s from a large oil tanker or a single barrel, oil spills contaminate seas and oceans. This contamination can impact the cleanliness and usability of the water, and its effects can be challenging to reverse. However, it is not just water that is susceptible to pollution, as oil spills on land can prevent water absorption in soil and impact the surrounding agriculture.

Issues for animals

Some species are more vulnerable to the impact of oil spills than others. As oil spills are more common in water, marine animals are more susceptible than others to grief. More specifically, animals that inhabit the surface of water, such as otters and beavers, tend to be affected the most by oil spills as this substance floats on top of water.

Draining the economy

As the cost of living continues to rise, companies want to cut costs wherever possible. Unfortunately, it may be harder to find the best business electricity rates. Oil spills can be directly harmful to business profits, especially if you are involved in a water-based sector, such as fishing or boating.

As well as pausing all business in the affected areas, the damage caused by oil spills can be costly to repair - this is particularly problematic for less economically developed countries that require resources to repair the damages caused by oil leaks.

What is the future of production?

No matter how careful we are, oil spills are sometimes unavoidable. With the effects of climate change becoming apparent worldwide, it is now more important than ever to think about the future of our planet. Cleaner forms of energy are coming into the mix as an alternative to oil consumption, which has many economic and environmental benefits.

Methodology

We used the Wikipedia to find the number of oil spills in each country between 1903-2023. We removed Russia and Ukraine from our ranking.

We used the above source to find the total amount of oil spilt in each country (in tonnes). For countries with different min tonne and max tonne values, we took an average total amount by adding the two values together and dividing by two.

To calculate the amount of oil lost per spill, we divided the total amount of oil spilt by the number of individual oil spills in each country - only spills where there was data on the number of tonnes spilt were used in this calculation.

We used Our World in Data to find the global number of oil spills from tankers in the following years: 2022, 2013, 2003, and 1973.

We subtracted the 2022 global oil spill total from the 2013 total before dividing this number by the 2013 figure to calculate the percentage change in global oil spills over the last ten years. We repeated this calculation for the 2003 and 1973 figures to find the difference in global oil spills during the previous 20 years and 50 years, respectively.

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