Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – The Most Expensive Oil Spill in History

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Post on 17-Mar-2016




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Even though Exxon Valdez is considered as the 26th largest oil spill, it is the most expensive oil spill ever to happen. The ship spilled 10.8 million gallons of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea. The Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup cost $2.5 billion, apart from the billions of dollars spent on punitive charges, fines, and penalties.


Exxon Valdez Oil Spill The Most Expensive Oil Spill in HistoryThe Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred on March 24, 1989 in Prince William Sound, Alaska is the most devastating oil spill ever on sea. This oil spill is a classic example of human-caused environmental disaster. When the ship ran aground it spilled more than 10.8 million gallons of oil. Even though the Exxon Valdez oil spill may not be the biggest oil spill, it still was the costliest ever. This was mainly because Prince William Sound was remotely located and could be accessed only by a helicopter or a boat.The cost of an oil spill is determined by several factors such as the type of oil, amount of oil spilled, location of the spill, and rate of spillage. In the case of Exxon Valdez, the type of oil spilled was crude oil. Crude oil, in general, is viscous, persistent, and sticky and cleaning it up is not an easy task. This was one of the main reasons that the cost oil spill cleanup was so high in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.Apart from the millions of dollars lost from the oil spilled, Exxon Valdez spent quite a lot on oil spill cleanup. Eight thousand dollars was spent a day just to charter boats for cleanup. In fact, Exxon Valdez spent a staggering $2.5 billion on cleanup alone, an amount equal to one fifth of its total revenue for the year. The Exxon Valdez oil spill had its effects on more than one thousand miles of the Alaskan shoreline. Birds and animals were severely affected by it. Exxon Valdez had to spend thousands of dollars on every single animal saved. An additional seventy-five million dollars was given to fishermen to make up for their loss. There are also other factors that make the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the most expensive oil spill. Exxon had to spend $150 million on criminal plea agreement, $100 million on criminal restitution, and $900 million on civil settlement. In 1994, it was also was charged $5 billion of punitive damages, which was later reduced to $4.5 billion.


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