The Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 was one of the world’s worst environmental disasters and it cost energy giant BP around $40 billion (£27 billion) in fines, compensation and settlements.
BP’s CEO Bob Dudley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that the “tragic accident,” which
killed 11 men and saw more than three million barrels of oil flow into Gulf waters, shook the company “to its core” and was “a near death experience” for the energy firm.
“Sometimes it takes a near death experience to radically change a company. It was a forced focusing down of what we do, it was this is what we need to do to survive,” he said to Lord Browne, who was guest editor on the radio programme and who happened to also be a former BP executive.
The spill was so bad that it affected the shorelines of five states — Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida — and caused catastrophic consequences for the ecosystems and local economies.
For example, take a look at the following pictures from 2010 when the spill first happened. This is what the sea looked like:
And the local ecosystems are still trying to recover after the killed off a lot of fish and animals in the local areas:
In 2012, BP accepted responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay $4.4 billion (£3bn) to the US government to settle its criminal liability.
However, in total since then, various other fines, compensation and lawsuits have totalled nearly $40 billion (£27 billion) and BP has sold off more than $45 billion(£30 billion) in assets to cover the costs.