Around the Nation

Notable Numbers From The Gulf Oil Spill

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

According to new estimates from the federal government, nearly 5 million barrels of oil leaked from the BP well before it was temporarily capped last month. Michele Norris and Melissa Block list some other notable numbers from the oil spill response.


The Gulf oil spill is full of big numbers that tell their own stories, so we thought we'd run through a few of them. First, on the containment response: More than 32,000 people have been mobilized and 5,300 vessels deployed. More than 3.2 million feet of boom have been laid to try to keep the oil away from the Gulf coastline, and at least 1,843,786 gallons of dispersants have been used to break up the oil.


1,499 birds with oil on them have been found dead, but more than that, 1,699 visibly oiled birds have been collected alive, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, of those, at least 594 had been rehabilitated and released. 2,168 baby sea turtles have been relocated from their nests on beaches in the path of the oil spill and released into the Atlantic Ocean. And over 600 miles, that's the number of miles along the Gulf coastline impacted by the oil. And if you break that down further, 365 miles along Louisiana's coast, 111 miles in Mississippi, 68 miles in Alabama and 88 miles in Florida.

BLOCK: Now, to the bottom line. BP has spent over $4 billion on its oil spill response. That number includes claims for damages paid out to local residents and business owners, $277 million so far.

NORRIS: Byron Marinovich has not yet filed a claim. He runs the Black Velvet Oyster Bar in Empire, Louisiana. He says business is actually better these days because he's had an influx of customers from the many response teams in town. Still, he offers a few telling numbers of his own.

He says a gallon of oysters cost a lot more than it did before the oil spill: in April, about $32 - now, over $60 a gallon. What does that mean for his menu? Well, Marinovich says he's oyster platter used to cost about $14.95. That's about a month and a half ago. Now, it's $17.95 a plate.

BLOCK: And we thought we'd leave you with two more numbers that may tell the whole story of the Gulf oil spill: 4.9 million. That's the number of barrels of oil that have spewed from the BP well before it was capped last month according to new estimates from the federal government. And the number of accidental oil spills in history that are larger than this one: Zero.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from