Talk:Oil spill

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Oil spill:

  • Verified account person: take out second paragraph, starts with "Solby's..."
  • Cite sources
  • Verify sources for table
  • format sources
  • add data on recovery rates of various cleanup techniques. I understand they are in the order of 3 to 5%, once crude hits water, much lower than most people think.


Contents

Untitled[edit]

reason[edit]

"Oil from the Exxon Valdez and Gulf War oil spills" persisted. "By contrast", "the Braer spill off the Shetland Islands and the Sea Empress spill off Milford Haven left almost no long-term environmental damage", why the difference? Jackzhp 12:39, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Answer: the coast line is very wet and damp with oil. The cost line in the Shetlands is a high energy coast line.....meaning that the turbulence created by the wind and tide, in the water, crashing on the rocks naturally dispersed the oil, breaking the oil up into a more manageable amount for the environment to deal with.

The Prince William Sound is a reasonably low energy coast line, plus black and white (as colours not race) don't mix and make a media view point to attack the oil companies, who are not without blame. loopa, more oil is poured down the drains in Pennsylvania in one year than was spilled from the Valdez 35000T ish wow!. Any media catastrophes stories there? That is just one state......with many Amish that don't have the necessity to do oil changes, imagine the quantity coming out of NY or Italy with all the guys’ hair products!!!!! Now that is a disaster!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.142.15.34 (talk) 13:17, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Aberdeen?[edit]

I removed the following line from the article, because I couldn't find any sources for it. Any ideas?

"A tanker spill off shore from Aberdeen, Washington released 100,000 gallons of oil into the harbor. [citation needed]" Fredwerner (talk) 05:40, 25 November 2007 (UTC) then made out wih sam —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.204.4.10 (talk) 17:28, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism?[edit]

Under environmental effects: "Oil coats the front of Sea otters, seals, reducing their furs natural insulation abilities" —Preceding unsigned comment added by PrinssiFO (talkcontribs) 22:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like someone was trying to slip that in there. No citation and incorrect information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by sanjat312 (talk—Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.170.75.220 (talk) 07:05, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Oil Spills in other areas[edit]

This article should be expanded to include Oil Spills that are NOT in the environment. E.G. Oil Spills that pose safety hazards in maintenance or construction areas. There is currently no article for those. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.164.80.42 (talk) 10:22, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

"Oil Spill" ?[edit]

"Oil is also released into the environment from natural geologic seeps on the sea floor. [1] Most human-made oil pollution comes from land-based activity, but public attention and regulation has tended to focus most sharply on seagoing oil tankers"

63%, in the United States alone, comes from natural, geological expulsions, and less than 1% from drilling platforms, etc.[citation needed] Yet, this isn't even given more than a passing, obscure reference in the article....why? --Dashel101 (talk) 22:38, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Oil is EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.243.196.114 (talk) 20:44, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Very interesting. Under the headline "Oil Spill" ? I expected to find a discussion of the euphemism that this term is, not a justification of businesses polluting the ocean. It reflects the business friendly US culture: what in German is called Ölpest and in french marée noire, "black tide", in English is a harmless "spill", like what we all regularly cause in the kitchen. Whereas the 9/11 terror attacks were quickly dramatized as "war on america", harm caused by business is presented in very harmless terms. It is particular to the US culture to do this. E.g. the "Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" is called the "Ölkatastrophe im Golf von Mexiko" in the German WP. I'd love to see the cultural differences in terminology addressed in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.201.199.119 (talk) 02:59, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Nokomis 3[edit]

In the Methods of cleaning - equipment section there is a product mentioned, Nokomis 3

After looking up the corresponding article, which is poorly written and has a smell of advertisment to me, and seeing the manufacturers website, it turns out Nokomis is a simple dispersant, which are covered in the "methods" part above.

I vote for deletion of the Nokomis 3 - reference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.148.120.37 (talk) 13:39, 7 March 2010 (UTC)


Agreed and done. It is only one of many dispersants and not notewothy in this article. -- Paulscrawl (talk) 13:01, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Working with author of that article -- one (actually two) of the five dispersants BP rejected, so worth salvaging. Paulscrawl (talk) 14:26, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

There should be a lot of equipment used together so that we dont have to pay or use all one resource. They say hay works and hair, well why not combining it togther to clean up the spill. i understand its a very hard process but we have to give it all our try or we could be in a very very deep mess.

deepwater horizon?[edit]

Isn't it a little premature to put the deepwater horizon incident in the list of largest oil spills of all time?--345Kai (talk) 00:50, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

-> Analysis of spill maps by outside experts, using the NOAA's guidelines for estimation, are around 25,000 bbl/d. Estimates from ocean-floor video footage of the leak<ref>{{cite blog|url=http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/12/865931/-BP-Releases-First-Video-of-Oil-Volcano-(Update-with-leak-estimations,-new-video)|title=BP Releases First Video of Oil Volcano (Update with leak estimations, new video)|last=John Amos|publisher=Daily Kos|date=2010-05-12}}</ref> yield similar results. Meanwhile, neither the Coast Guard nor the NOAA ever publicly explained their methodology for arriving at the 5,000 bbl/d estimate<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.onearth.org/node/2084|title=Gulf Oil Spill Far Worse Than Officials, BP Admit, Says Independent Analyst|last=Emily Gertz|date=APRIL 29, 2010|publisher=Natural Resources Defense Council|accessdate=12 May 2010}}</ref> (actually, they accepted that estimate only after being challenged on the 1,000 bbl/d estimate,<ref>{{cite news|url=http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/nation/la-na-oil-spill-measure-20100502|title=Tiny group has big impact on spill estimates|last=Julie Cart|publisher=[[Los Angeles Times]]|date=2010-05-01}}</ref> which they seem to have gotten from BP). By May 1, 2010, these organizations gave up estimating the rate of the spill.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/01/1916707/nightmare-scenario-feared-if-massive.html|title= Nightmare scenario feared if massive oil spill enters the Gulf Stream|last=ALLEN G. BREED and SETH BORENSTEIN|publisher=[[Associated Press]]|date=2010-05-01}}</ref> And the administration has since stated that the leak may actually be in the tens of thousands of barrels per day.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100502-702751.html|title=Interior Secretary Salazar: US Gulf Oil Spill May Be Worse Than Valdez|last=Ian Talley|publisher=DOW JONES NEWSWIRES|date=2010-05-02}}</ref> BP now puts the upper limit at 60,000 bbl/d<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N05227297.htm|title=BP exec says oil leak could flow at 60,000 bpd|last=Eric Beech|publisher=Reuters|date=2010-05-05}}</ref> (which is 15-times greater than the worst-case scenario they originally submitted in their filing to MMS<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/29/gulf-oil-spill-exceeds-bp_n_556798.html|title=Gulf Oil Spill Exceeds BP's 'Worst-Case Scenario,' Drilling Supporters On Defensive|last=Marcus Baram|publisher=Huffington Post|date=2010-04-29}}</ref>). So, there's really nothing other than momentum maintaining the 5,000 bbl/d figure. Using the more credible 25,000 bbl/d estimate, this would already put the spill at 75,000 tonnes. It is almost certain to pass 100,000 tonnes before it is brought under control.--levydav (levydav) 02:26, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

->Two new analyses of the video of the leaking pipe put the rate at 56,000-84,000 bbl/d and 20,000-100,000 bbl/d.<ref>{{cite blog|url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126809525|title=Gulf Spill Could Be Much Worse Than Believed|last=Richard Harris|publisher=NPR|date=2010-05-13}}</ref> If the tighter estimate turns out to be true, the spill has already exceeded 100,000 tonnes.--levydav (levydav) 22:26, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Notice: I have added the "nowiki" templates to the above comment to avoid having the citations appear under new and unrelated comments at the bottom of this talk page. Another option is {{talk reflist}}, but this only confuses if a new comment with citations is added. Due to the high age of the above comment I decided to use nowiki. Should someone disagree, feel free to change (--> WP:TPO). RN1970 (talk) 10:01, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

Reviewing the size of the spills[edit]

The current version of this article lists the Exxon Valdez spill at 350,000 tonnes of crude. However, the reference listed for the Exxon Valdez spill, says 240,500 barrels. At 7.33 barrels per tonne, this is 32,810 tonnes. The reference in the mail Exxon Valdez oil spill article says (http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/facts/qanda.cfm) says 38,800 metric tonnes. "11 million gallons or 257,000 barrels or 38,800 metric tonnes." List of oil spills, has it at 37,000 tonnes. So, there seems to be a conversion issue in the current version of this article. Thus, this spill is NOT in the spills over 100,000 tonnes. I'm removing it from the list. AppleMacD (talk) 21:36, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

-- An alternate list of the largest oil spills can be found at EnviroWonk (http://envirowonk.com/content/view/68/1/), and it agrees largely with the list we give here. It also confirms that Exxon Valdez doesn't make the cut. I'd been concerned about whether we'd screwed up a conversion factor, but it appears that AppleMacD is correct and that Exxon Valdez was an incorrect listing. Yakaji (talk) 22:06, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

-- It doesn't appear that the current spill off the Louisiana coast meets the criteria, either. At 5,000 bbl a day X 12 days, that's 60,000 barrels or a little over 2.5M gallons. Dakdawg (talk) 17:25, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

--- According to various press releases, the number for the Louisiana spill should be more like 100,000 barrels a day. That would be 1,200,000 barrels = 50,400,000 gallons. Of course, I don't know where they're getting this number from, and it could be inaccurate. Better to wait until the spill has been dealt with and the figures properly calculated before putting it on the list. ZbeeblebroxIV (talk) 19:30, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

--- A "press release" does not imply accuracy. The recent "estimates" from the released videos seem to be grossly inacurate (too high in this case) due to their use of the gas-fraction (NG = natural gas) velocity, escaping which is co-mingled with the liquid-fraction velocity (crude) and a likely "mis-calculation" of the appropriate fractional-diameter. Thus I deleted (only) the overblown second phrase in the sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.245.13.121 (talk) 18:22, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

--- On both wiki pages the Deep Horizon numbers are skewed. One says 265,000 tons and the other over 500,000 tons. I think someone misread their listed source and somehow came up with the larger number and they are not accounting for how much is spilling after the fact of siphoning and flaring. I suggest considering these two pages for a new and more accurate amount. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/horizon-oil-spill.html where pbs sites 1,059,240 gal/day captured or flared and http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9GM48CO1 . I think it will be closer to August before this spill equals Ixtoc, however it is quite possible the truth is not being revealed at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chesscat77 (talkcontribs) 08:13, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

100 million tons[edit]

I know it is sourced to the NY Times, but it seems like something has to be wrong with this edit [1] that increased the Gulf War spill by two orders of magnitude. Dragons flight (talk) 19:43, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Here's a serious attempt to estimate the extent of spillage after the Gulf War--they come up with 4 million-6 million barrels, which is 168 million-252 million gallons. Maybe we should use this estimate in place of the three other take-our-word-for-it sources?

http://employees.oneonta.edu/baumanpr/geosat2/Environmental_Warfare/ENVIRONMENTAL_WARFARE.htm

Nareek (talk) 16:49, 6 May 2010 (UTC)


-> I asked the authors of the NYT article. They said it came from NOAA, but they have since learned it is wrong. --levydav (levydav) 22:26, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Deepwater Horizon - Largest oil spills[edit]

In a fortnight it reached 290k tons, it should top this list in a month. Yet it isn't mentioned. Is this because it's ongoing? 99.236.221.124 (talk) 04:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

PCBs in crude oil[edit]

Can whoever posted the comment about PCBs please explain to me how an aromatic compound living several km deep in the earth's crust managed to get itself poly-chlorinated? PCBs were manufactured in chemical plants. If they previously existed naturally in crude oil, then this is the first I have heard about it. However, I am leaving the comment for now with a citation request in the possible event that I am wrong. If I am right, then please remove this comment, as this seems like the kind of mislead hype that damages the credibility of wikipedia. Wulfgang (talk) 14:19, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Although its probably not refering to crude oil but that PCBs are an 'oil', I agree that its way outside of the common meaning of 'oil spill' and I removed.Lateg (talk) 11:22, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Info about scientific oil spill management.....[edit]

--222.64.219.195 (talk) 01:07, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

The relationship with tsunami[edit]

--222.64.219.195 (talk) 01:19, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Table needs column for source of spill & Gallons or Barrels[edit]

I think it would be very helpful to have a column in the table of largest spills to identify whether the source was a marine well, land well/field, or tanker. In the onging debate about whether to drill offshore or import oil via tankers, we need to understand which is better. Wmjohn6217 (talk) 20:40, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Quantities should be normalized into gallons or barrels throughout this page, but not tons. I've been spending the last couple of weeks multiplying or dividing by 42 or by 7.3 (or whatever it is) but most people don't do that. Listing all three is OK, but listing tons alone is not because very few reports use tons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by John Emerson (talkcontribs) 01:52, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Saudi Aramco Spill and Hofmeister/Pozzi[edit]

John Hofmeister's been going on about this massive but, until now, unknown, spill that Saudi Aramco had in 1993-1994. I can find nothing about it anywhere. With him claiming that it was 150% the size of the Gulf War spill, it seems like a hard thing to have kept quiet for 17 years. Is this an example of an amazing press containment atop the oil containment? Hofmeister's story is here. Czrisher (talk) 13:27, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

i believe that article is a reference to the cleanup of the gulf war spills...--emerson7 16:50, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

Found some vandalism while visiting the page. Did an Undo to put the article back as it was. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bmaples (talkcontribs) 02:35, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Why isn't Exxon-Valdez here?[edit]

Its article puts it at 250,000 barrels, which certainly merits placement on the list. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Orionriver (talkcontribs) 07:30, 3 June 2010 (UTC)


Look right on the page for the Valdez spill. The official number has been 250.000 barrels for nearly two decades. It's on the Exxon Valdez page, why isn't it here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.188.82.182 (talk) 22:42, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I think you are confusing barrels and tons. The list on this page is for spills larger than 100,000 tons, which would be 733,000 barrels. If the Exxon-Valdez spill is 250,000 barrels, then it is smaller than the 100,000 ton (733,000 barrel) cutoff for the list. Calathan (talk) 20:01, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

missing data for largest spills?[edit]

The 'largest spills' table/section seems to be somewhat western-centric--my guess would be that the data is limited to single-events (not multiple smaller events in a single area), and is focused on events that were 'noticed' by the western world for whatever reason (that includes Iraq war). For example, I keep hearing that the Niger Delta is horribly hit and nobody hears about it. I think those are multiple events over extended time--no less devastating, but each event is smaller, or maybe just nobody measured the spill?

"According to Nigerian federal government figures, there were more than 7,000 spills between 1970 and 2000, and there are 2,000 official major spillages sites, many going back decades, with thousands of smaller ones still waiting to be cleared up. More than 1,000 spill cases have been filed against Shell alone." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/oil-spills-nigeria-niger-delta-shell

Maybe the poster of the data could add some text for context as to the source, types of data, limitations, etc?

Thanks. 69.86.235.245 (talk) 01:48, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the Guardian link. a key quote from that article has two different sources (WWF UK and Amnesty) give two very similar estimates of between 1.22 and 1.5 million tons (9 to 11 million barrels) of oil:

One report, compiled by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the Nigerian federal government and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil – 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska – has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. Last year Amnesty calculated that the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage.

This presumably includes spills that would not make it into the list of "largest spills" however.See suggestion (B) below, under "Data for Totals" Harel (talk) 22:41, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Data for Total amount from all spills? all large spills?[edit]

It would be very useful to have total amount spilled tabulated. Two data actually:

A. Does anyone know how to use wiki code to create a "Row" in the table of "spills over 100,000 tons" that would total all the preceding rows? It would total the upper and lower bounds so this total would itself consist of two numbers; upper and lower.

B. It would also be very helpful to have the current-best-estimate total for ALL spills of oil (in the broad definition of the term) both "small" (under 100,000 tons) and those above.

(By the way, if I calculated correctly, every 1 million tons spilled (the size of some of the largest ones; the total spilled is far above 1 million) is equivalent to one ppt (part per trillion) of the entire planet's ocean volume. With some petrocheicals (e.g. benzine) being cited as having toxicity in the ppb's range, it's entirely possible that the threshold for "some harmful effects from long-term exposure" swimming in it for months or years could end up being measurable in parts per trillion. This aside is not the only reason totals are helpful, but does illustrate one of the many reasons a WP would be helpful to contain totals A. and B.) Harel (talk) 22:56, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Komi / Usinsk oil disaster[edit]

I haven't been able to find anything on this particular spill anywhere in Wikipedia. Reports are that the spill was 100 - 120 kilotons of oil. Here's a couple of references to get started:

http://www1.american.edu/ted/komi.htm http://archive.greenpeace.org/majordomo/index-oldgopher/9505/msg00009.html

This reference says the 'official estimate' was 60,000 tons: http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2007/Oil_spill_in_Komi

This reference cites (unnamed) environmental groups at 60-200 tons (and the company's official position of 14,000 tons): http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=jRgVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vQcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6808,213696&dq=komi+oil&hl=en Biccat (talk) 01:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)


Lakeview[edit]

That was terrestrial, what could it have spilled into? 99.236.221.124 (talk) 00:58, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

It filled up an area of California scrubland. Huge pools of oil were created by earthen berms and sandbag dykes. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/science/earth/19enviro.html?hp Similar info is to be found in the Wikipedia article on the event. Note that while this article is called "oil spill", it describes any uncontrolled discharge of oil. 76.118.170.241 (talk) 04:02, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Total for Gulf Deepwater Horizon oil spill[edit]

Unfortunately the numbers given here as totals for the spill are largely based on OR calculations based on various spill rates given in some sources. Since these rates are however not constant and do change based on what happens on the ground both in terms of oil recovery and fixes to the leak these spill rates cannot simply be multiplied by the number days days since the blow out to produce a reliable number for the spill total. We should therefore list only totals taken from reliable third party sources and refrain from calculating totals ourselves.
Currently the article states that the range as being between 175,000,000 and 385,000,000 gallons based on a single source stating only flow rates, while e.g. CNN and AP give much lower totals (71-140 million and 106-182 million gallons respectively).
I will therefore amend the article accordingly. Travelbird (talk) 12:17, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


A far better measure, and one which sets a concrete lower limit, is the amount BP is actually capturing, since they obviously cannot capture oil that isn't leaking. BP has been using two vessels to capture an average of 25,000 barrels a day from the Macondo well. For the 24 hours ended at 12 a.m. today, 25,290 barrels were collected. This is clearly not the full extent of the leak, since the amount captured exactly equals the processing capacity currently at the site. They are simply capturing the maximum amount they can process. Therefore the minimum must be (today) 25,290 x 75 days or 1,896,750 barrels. This should be considered along with BP plans to capture as much as 80,000 barrels per day. Considering the cost involved, if BP believes this is necessary and/or cost-effective, that would raise the total amount to 330,000,000 gallons. Most estimates of the current capture ratio are in the 50% range, making a reasonable estimate of 208,000,000 gallons.
Obviously, Deepwater Horizon easily eclipses the Ixtoc spill, and the chart needs to changed to reflect that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.36.86.171 (talk) 19:20, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Lakeview Gusher numbers[edit]

We are in dire need of better sources for the given number of 9 million gallons. The three current sources are a youtube video and about.com, both of which aren't incredibly reliable, and a book which apparently is reliable but ideally would be supplemented by an online reliable verifiable source. Travelbird (talk) 15:37, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

The Oil Spill Table[edit]

User 91.55.96.174 just removed two columns, the ones showing gallons and barrels, from the table of oil spills. The Table now shows only tons. All the news I have heard lately measures spills in gallons or barrels, not tons. I think the change should be reverted. HowardMorland (talk) 04:29, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

It's ugly and makes no sense, but if you don't see it I guess it might just be the table for you. Have fun! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.55.96.174 (talk) 04:42, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Vacuum and centrifuge[edit]

Someone needs to separate the wheat from the chaff in the second part here, and make what is viable more encyclopedic. Daniel1212 (talk) 15:31, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Environmental Damage[edit]

This article contains one very limited paragraph on Environmental Damage from Oil Spills. This seems hopelessly inadequate to the subject, even in an encyclopedia. This entire construct ought to be expanded and perhaps listed by each aspect of the environment: i.e. hydrology, aquatic mammals, humans, etc. Surely there must be a body of research that has addressed this and can be cited more authoritatively? Justinoly22 (talk) 14:18, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

size of spill[edit]

BBC says 4.9 million barrels..of which 800,000 were captured, it has been said. Haven't checked all the other references in the last couple of weeks so rather than adding I'll leave it to others whether to add the BBC link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10848147 It does show that even the lower figure 4.1 is above the mid-point of the "2 to 6 million" range for the 1990s Persian Gulf spill..so is larger than that one for certain. (aside: U.S. media still report that one as "the largest" when it's in third place, below Deepwater Horizon, which in turn is below Lakeview, someone write/email your media to correct them next time they say it)Harel (talk) 04:51, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Should the Kuwaiti oil fires be included on this page?[edit]

I've been wondering if the Kuwaiti oil fires shouldn't be included as an oil spill, and on the list of biggest spills. While not all of the oil simply gushed onto the land or into the sea, a great deal of it apparently did. According to the article on Wikipedia, approximately 300 oil lakes were formed on the surface of Kuwait as a result of the deliberate sabotage to the wells. And an uncontrolled gusher, such as a sabotaged well, seems to be within the scope of this article, given the inclusion of the Lakeview Gusher, even if much of the oil is immediately consumed by fire. In effect, the oil leaves the ground in an uncontrolled fashion, and enters the environment, although much of it is then burned.

The article on the Kuwaiti oil fires says that approximately 6,000,000 barrels of oil were lost each day as a result of the oil fires. Much of that spilled out onto the ground, with the rest being burned and released into the atmosphere. There's no total figure given, but clearly the amount of oil involved would far surpass any of the largest oil spills in the table in this article. And I think most people would agree that the event belongs in the category of oil spills. P Aculeius (talk) 19:29, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Ah, found this under Kuwait:
"During their retreat, the Iraqi armed forces carried out a scorched earth policy by damaging 737 oil wells in Kuwait, of which approximately 600 were set on fire. It was estimated that by the time Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation, about 5 to 6 million barrels (950,000 m3) of oil was being burned in a single day because of these fires.
Oil and soot accumulation had affected the entire Persian Gulf region and large oil lakes were created holding approximately 25 to 50 million barrels (7,900,000 m3) of oil and covering 5% of Kuwait's land area. In total, about 11 million barrels (1,700,000 m3) of oil was released into the Persian Gulf and an additional 2% of Kuwait's 96 billion barrels (1.53×1010 m3) of crude oil reserves were burned by the time the oil fires were brought under control."
By my math, that means 1.92 billion barrels of oil burned and 25-50 million pooled on the surface, dwarfing the next-largest spill in history. P Aculeius (talk) 19:36, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
2% of 96billion barrels would be quite a lot....the Kuwait article gives only one reference, Espionageinfo.com...is there another more clearly solid one like BBC, New York Times, or similar? This claimed amount is 213 times larger than the Lakeview Gusher total of 9,000,000 barrels...an amount which sounds incredible but might be true..it would be good to make sure it is correct... Harel (talk) 18:46, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Since nobody else seems to have looked into this yet, I decided to look for some documentation. One source seems to be the "Kuwait TED Case" from the "Trade and Environmental Database" at American University. It appears that this site was a summary of various environmental disasters, researched and sorted by occasion, with some documentation and citation to scholarly sources. However, the database no longer seems to be updated and I think it might be deleted soon. According to this article:
  • Deliberate sabotage of the Kuwaiti oil wells could result in the burning of 3,000,000 to 10,000,000 barrels of oil per day (pre-war estimate).
  • "Dr. Paul Crutzen, a top scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, estimated that the sustained burning of ten million barrels of oil per day for one hundred days would effectuate environmental hazards on an order of magnitude greater than any prior man-made environmental disaster..."
  • "It was soon estimated that six million barrels of oil were burning per day circa March 1991 in Kuwait." No source cited for this estimate.
  • "it was estimated that 250 million gallons of oil - more than 20 times the amount spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska - flowed into the Gulf." This is less than the 11 million barrels (462 million gallons) estimated in the Wikipedia article.
  • "In 1993 Farouq al-Baz, director of Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing, stated that more than 240 oil lakes had been discovered in the Kuwaiti desert."
This CNN.com article, "Kuwait still recovering from Gulf War fires," dated January 3, 2003:
  • "more than 1 billion barrels of oil went up in flames.... The fires, according to a report prepared for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the allied commander in the Gulf War, consumed more than 4 million barrels of oil a day at their height."
  • "Day vanished into night, black rain fell from the sky, and a vast network of lakes was born ... lakes of oil as deep as six feet.... Although much of the oil gushing from the ground burned in the fires, a sticky residue formed lakes that mar the landscape of Kuwait to this day."
  • "Saddam also poured 10 million barrels of oil into the sea"
NASA, in this article on the Kuwaiti oil fires, dated March 21, 2003, states that:
  • "During the air and ground war of January-February 1991, 700 oil wells were damaged, of which more than 600 were set on fire."
  • "The sand and gravel on the land's surface combined with oil and soot to form a layer of hardened "tarcrete" over almost 5 percent of the country's area. Over 300 oil lakes also formed; though covering only about 0.1 percent of Kuwait's area. The Kuwaiti Oil Minister estimated these lakes to hold 25 to 50 million barrels of oil."
A source cited by the NASA article appears to be the U.S. Geological Survey: Campbell, Robert Wellman, ed. 1999. "Iraq and Kuwait: 1972, 1990, 1991, 1997." Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change. U.S. Geological Survey. http://earthshots.usgs.gov.
  • "During the air and ground war of January-February 1991, 700 oil wells were damaged, of which more than 600 were set on fire."
  • "Besides affecting the oceans and atmosphere, this oil had a severe impact on Kuwait's landscape. The sand and gravel on the land's surface combined with oil and soot to form a layer of hardened "tarcrete" over almost 5% of the country's area. Over 300 oil lakes also formed; though covering only about 0.1% of Kuwait's area, these lakes were estimated by the Kuwaiti Oil Minister to hold 25 to 50 million barrels of oil."
The Los Angeles Times in this article from March 6, 1991, states that:
  • "It may take a year or longer to extinguish about 550 Kuwaiti oil wells fire-bombed or damaged by retreating Iraqi troops.... Another 250 wells are either spewing oil high into the air, or are otherwise damaged, hemorrhaging millions more barrels.... black rain has reportedly fallen as far away as southern Turkey, about 600 miles from here, and soot clouds have darkened the skies over Qatar and Bahrain."
  • "Petroleum engineers getting their first close-up look at the disaster estimate that the wells are burning 6 million barrels of oil a day, or three times Kuwait's daily production before the Iraqi invasion last Aug. 2."
  • "Ahmed Murad, a manager at the state-run Kuwait Oil Co., estimated that 10% to 15% of Kuwait's 94 billion barrels in proven reserves may be lost before the fires are extinguished and the wells capped."
This information are preliminary findings from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report to Congress from fall, 1991:
  • In late January, 1991, Iraq discharged between 6,000,000 and 8,000,000 barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf (report pages 6-7). Oil continued to leak into the Persian Gulf through April, 1991, at a rate of 1,500 to 6,000 barrels per day from one facility, and more from several others (report page 10).
  • For every million barrels of oil lost per day from three major oil fields near the coast, approximately one hundred thousand barrels were accumulating in land pools. These particular oil lakes were of concern because of their proximity to the waters of the Persian Gulf (report page 12). This also implies that multiple millions of barrels were being lost per day from these three oil fields.
  • 749 oil wells were set on fire or damaged by the retreating Iraqi army, of which 610 were found to be on fire. 441 had been controlled by the date of this report, and 308 remained uncontrolled (report, page 14).
  • Approximately 4,000,000 barrels of oil were being burned per day from the oil fires, plus or minus 2,000,000 barrels, before the fires were brought under control. This amount would have decreased steadily as wells were extinguished throughout the remainder of 1991. The volume of oil burned was described as 50% of the total amount burned in all oil fires in the history of the petroleum industry (report appendices, page A-1).
My conclusions: the estimates of the three main spill statistics in the Wikipedia article on Kuwait (oil burned in the oil fires, oil pooled in surface lakes, and oil discharged directly into the Persian Gulf) appear to be on the high side of estimates made in 1991 and thereafter, but are within the same order of magnitude and do not seem to be clearly contradicted by other reliable sources.
I would probably recommend using the EPA's median figure of 4,000,000 barrels of oil per day burned, although I can't begin to guess how many total barrels this adds up to by the time the last well was brought under control, given the constantly diminishing amount of oil. However, the L.A. Times gave the figure of 6,000,000 barrels per day, citing "Petroleum engineers". That figure was also contained in the TED report. Perhaps it should say "up to 6,000,000 barrels per day".
The 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 barrel figure for the amount discharged directly into the Persian Gulf in January, 1991 is the figure adopted by the EPA in its report, but does not include ongoing discharges of perhaps more than 6,000 barrels per day from then until the end of April, which could easily increase the total figure by over 500,000 barrels. The EPA report does not seem to estimate the total amount of oil spilled into the Persian Gulf from all sources by the end of April. CNN's estimate in 2003 was 10,000,000 barrels, but it isn't clear whether they were just rounding up.
The figure of 25,000,000 to 50,000,000 barrels of oil pooled in three hundred lakes is supported by the USGS and NASA. It should be pointed out that this does not include the amount of oil that formed a layer of "tarcrete" over 5% of the surface of Kuwait, according to the same sources. The lakes themselves covered only 0.1% of the country's surface. P Aculeius (talk) 14:07, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Just noticed that the volume of the Gulf War Oil Spill was recently reduced to 4,000,000 barrels in this table, supposedly reflecting "more recent estimates". But there wasn't any source given for that assertion. Thought I'd do some checking. I did find one report cited in this article, which although almost totally illegible cites a 1992 congressional report estimating the spill between 4,000,000 and 6,000,000 barrels. I was unable to locate a copy of this report on-line, due to its age.
Without the report, I have to take the word of the citing author for his assertion that this estimage was "later and apparently more accurate". However, the previous congressional report by the EPA, described above, estimated 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 barrels, in the same ballpark, so to speak, and included only the part of the spill occurring during the final two weeks of January, 1991, while oil continued to flow into the Persian Gulf as a result of deliberate sabotage until April. It may be that the 1992 congressional report was similarly limited, but without it being readily available, I would not assume that the estimate of 4,000,000 to 6,000,000 barrels asserted as "apparently more accurate" by a third party whose reliability I don't feel competent to assess, is in fact a complete assessment of the spill's size or that the estimate was being deliberately revised.
In either case, 4,000,000 barrels is not the mid-point but the low end of the range of estimates, which went as high as 11,000,000, and the authoritativeness of that number must be questioned in light of the fact that major news outlets continue to use much higher estimates. For example, just this year, AOL News gave the estimate of between 7,000,000 and 11,000,000 barrels, while CNN described it as 1,500,000 tons (11,000,000 barrels):
  • AOL News, June 7, 2010: "Occupying Iraqi forces sank oil tankers and sabotaged loading terminals, releasing between 7 million and 11 million barrels of oil into the waters of the Persian Gulf."
  • CNNmoney.com, May 19, 2010: size of Gulf War Oil Spill: 1,500,000 tons (11,000,000 barrels).
In light of these facts, I think that the size of the main spill in this article should be revised upward to reflect the majority of estimates relied upon by various news organizations, based on the 1991 EPA report to congress (which is available on-line), and the USGS/NASA Estimates. I suggest the range of 8,000,000 to 11,000,000 barrels, reflecting the most commonly cited figures, although several sources also support the lower end at 6,000,000 barrels. Omitting the high end estimates, however, would be a mistake.
This recommendation does not include the amount of the oil spilled on land which pooled in the above-mentioned oil lakes, estimated to contain 25-50 million barrels, much more than the amount spilled directly into the Persian Gulf, or the amount burned in the oil fires, estimated it seems at between 1,000,000,000 and 2,000,000,000 barrels (1,920,000,000 barrels is the equivalent to the figures already used in Wikipedia's article on Kuwait, which would be safely rounded up to 2,000,000,000 barrels). P Aculeius (talk) 01:45, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Update: NOAA's current estimate (May 18, 2010) is that 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 barrels of oil (252,000,000 to 336,000,000 gallons) were released directly into the Persian Gulf by Iraqi forces beginning January 19, 1991. This estimate indicates that NOAA is standing by the initial survey estimate from 1991, included in the EPA Report to Congress. This is the estimate relied upon by the New York Times in an update to one of its articles on May 20, 2010. However, as a 1993 United Nations report indicates, this estimate included only the amount spilled from January 19 to January 28, 1991. Several hundred thousand additional barrels of oil leaked into the Persian Gulf between that time and June, 1991.
The U.N. Report contains the same estimate of 25,000,000 to 50,000,000 barrels of oil pooled in surface lakes relied upon by the U.S. Geological Survey (1999) and NASA (2003). This estimate does not seem to be disputed anywhere, although numerous sources mentioning this portion of the disaster appear to be confused as to the number of lakes, and their surface area relative to the rest of Kuwait. However, this is a minor detail, and the more reliable sources seem to indicate that 5% of the surface of Kuwait was coated with "tarcrete" as a result of spilled oil, while the oil lakes themselves occupied a much smaller area. It doesn't appear that anyone has separately addressed the amount of oil absorbed by the ground to form this tarcrete, but it could be included in the total volume of the oil lakes, which is very rough, with a margin of error of 50% (could be half as much as the high end estimate from the same source).
None of these sources directly addresses the total volume of oil burned in the Kuwaiti Oil Fires. The low-end estimate I saw was 500,000,000 barrels, and the high-end was 1,500,000,000 barrels, with some news sources using the figure of 1,000,000,000 barrels. The figure I gave above of 1,920,000,000 barrels (rounded up to 2,000,000,000 barrels) was based on the assertion that 2% of Kuwait's oil reserves were destroyed. However, estimates of those reserves also vary widely and in some cases are only half as much as given in the article on Kuwait. No source I have seen explicitly states a figure higher than 1,500,000,000 barrels. Since the 500,000,000 estimate seems to be on the low side and not widely used, I'd say that the best figures for the table would be 1,000,000,000 to 1,500,000,000 barrels.
I'll leave these figures here for a few days so that people can respond to this proposal before I make any changes to the article, or the main article on oil spills. My proposal is to:
  1. Add the Kuwaiti Oil Fires to the table of largest oil spills, with an estimated volume of 1,000,000,000 to 1,500,000,000 barrels burned;
  2. Add the "Kuwaiti Oil Lakes" (please respond if you would like to suggest a better descriptive title) to the table, with an estimated volume of 25,000,000 to 50,000,000 barrels; and
  3. Revise the amount of oil estimated for the Gulf War Oil Spill back up to 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 barrels released from January 19 to 28, 1991; this is based on the current NOAA estimate, which is the one adopted by the New York Times, together with a footnote explaining the range of estimates from 4,000,000 to 11,000,000 barrels, and additional oil from various sources leaking into the Persian Gulf through June, 1991 with a volume of several hundred thousand barrels.
You think that burned oil should be counted as "spill"? If so, then shouldn't the figures for the Deepwater Horizon and Ixtoc I oil spills be brought up a little since some of that oil was burned, and burned oil still counts as "spill"? And every gusher fire on land should be added to the List of oil spills too since fires = spills? If not, I'd suggest to add "Kuwaiti oil fires oil spill" as 20-50M bbl, with a qualifier (perhaps in the notes afterward) saying that 1.5G bbl was actually released from the wells but the vast majority burned up in the fires instead of spilling intact, and rename "Gulf War oil spill" to "Persian Gulf oil spill" since both spills were part of the Gulf War. mike4ty4 (talk) 22:43, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that volumes of oil burned during the course of spills are either already included in the estimates of oil spilled (as in the Deepwater Horizon spill), or would be difficult to quantify or find documentation quantifying in most instances. I also doubt there have been many oil fires large enough to make this list on their own, although the Kuwaiti Oil Fires are orders of magnitude greater than any other spill in history. And I do think most people would consider them in the same context as liquid oil spills, since oil fires aren't really familiar as a separate category, and of course because the amount of oil released (some of which certainly did accumulate on the ground and water) is actually greater than that ever spilled as a liquid alone.
I was thinking about whether or not such smaller fires might make the other list, the big list on List of oil spills. If burned oil can be included, then perhaps some should be on that list, no? mike4ty4 (talk) 03:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
As for what to call things, it's not apparent to me that the oil lakes and oil fires can be lumped together. They resulted from the same act of sabotage, but apparently several hundred wells weren't set on fire, merely left as uncontrolled gushers. Some of the oil that accumulated on the ground and in the Persian Gulf was from the burning wells, but much of it, perhaps most, was from different wells. Since we can't really know where any given volume came from with the available sources, I don't think it would be a good idea to call it the "Kuwaiti Oil Fires Oil Spill".
I also disagree with renaming the "Gulf War Oil Spill" to "Persian Gulf Oil Spill" for two reasons. First, there have been many large oil spills into the Persian Gulf, although certainly this is the largest. The name "Gulf War Oil Spill" is much more helpful as an identifier. Second, that particular name seems to be in widespread use at this point in time, and it would probably be a mistake to change it to a less familiar name. P Aculeius (talk) 00:36, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
"Gulf War oil spill" though makes it sound like the entire oil spill in the Gulf War, not just the part that went into the ocean, but also the much bigger land based spill. mike4ty4 (talk) 03:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Citation needed. "Most human-made oil pollution..."[edit]

Per Wikipedia policy, "Most human-made oil pollution comes from land-based activity" has been removed until a citation can be added. This is a fascinating fact (assuming it's accurate), but such a specific and not widely known fact requires a reference to be included. I'd really like to see where it's from. Please add it back in once a source can be found and cited.
--Cfwschmidt (talk) 02:19, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Supertankers[edit]

Vessels such as supertankers can be used to suck up oil; see http://inhabitat.com/gulf-spill-solution-could-be-supertankers-bp-wont-listen/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.182.152.229 (talk) 15:41, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Image caption for first image on the page[edit]

That is not a squid..... It is a pile of kelp. Not entirely sure how to edit that caption though. Any help??Wilbiddle42 (talk) 21:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Remove clarification tag for term, "ton"[edit]

I'm not sure why the term "ton" at the head of the table of largest oil spills still has a clarification tag. Although the term can refer to different measurements, note "a" clearly defines the volume of oil that is considered a "ton" in this instance. I'd like to remove the tag, but since this topic involved several editors a while back, I thought it better to give others a chance to reply first. P Aculeius (talk) 13:40, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Unrefined vs refined oil spill[edit]

From a text in Kijk magazine (13/2011), I seem to understand that unrefined oil can be (easily) degraded by microorganisms, where refined oil can not be broken down by microorganisms. So, it seems that an oil spill with the first type of oil is ecologically (relatively) harmless, while the second one creates huge environmental damage. Look into it and mention it in the article.

91.182.240.163 (talk) 15:36, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

"Results" section needed?[edit]

Hi all, I noticed there is no mention that I can see regarding the results of clean up efforts. That is a big oversight. For instance, During the Deepwater media coverage, it was widely reported that on the shores where the Exxon Valdez spilled, oil is still found under the rocks. Are there any successful clean ups? This type of information would be good to add to this article, no? petrarchan47tc 19:34, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Spills at sea vs. land vs. water?[edit]

The line in the largest oil spills section that says "Oil spills at sea are generally much more than damaging than those on water ," doesn't make sense. Did the writer intend to say "than those on land" or "than those on fresh water"? Without a citation it's hard to know. Linktex (talk) 15:46, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Robotic fish[edit]

Perhaps this can be mentioned in the article: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/05/22/robot-fish-pollution-idINDEE84L03320120522

KVDP (talk) 14:28, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Microbes to clean up oil spills[edit]

Appearantly, Bacillus subtilis is used for this, see http://www.pnas.org/content/106/43/18109.short Mention in article 80.200.230.223 (talk) 12:05, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Addition by IP[edit]

This section was added in this diff. I'm sure most of this can be used, but will probably need a bit of work first. petrarchan47tc 20:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Drilling for oil effects the environment; derricks, machine use to extract oil, causes the estate to become undesired, oil spills endanger the surrounding wildlife, thus creating business's decrease. In 1932 real estate values in Venice, California decreased due to the pollution and noise that the derricks, a machine used to obtain the oil, produced while operating. Tourist stopped visiting Venice therefore the businesses no longer had customers to sell their merchandise to. Residents and businesses protested against the drilling in residential areas in 1932, drilling had to occur two hundred and five thousand feet from the pier (Ekind). Drilling for oil in the ocean puts the aquatic life endanger. A team of researchers studying an oil well in Macondo, part of the BP Oil Company, discovered that oil was leaking out of the well a thousand meters down in the ocean. The discovery of this leak shows that the operations are not being executed correctly and that makes sterilizing the water much more complicated.The oil can harm many organisms that help support the Gulf's food web; from corals to migrating plankton (Schrope). The BP Deep Water Oil Spill occurred April 10, 2010, the aftermath devastated the wildlife; four thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight animals died in total. Shrimpers, fisherman and restaurants along the coast of Louisiana were effected by the BP Deep Water Oil Spill, they depended on the aquatic life to support their business. Although oil is a productive natural resource drilling for it endangers our environment. (Kornfeld)

Size of Kuwaiti Oil Fires (memorandum)[edit]

Since this is the second or third time someone has just assumed that the amount of oil burned in the Kuwaiti Oil Fires was a typo, I'm just placing this memorandum about it. The sources and estimates found in various sources are provided in one of the sections above, and there's a note attached to the table in the article as well. It's not a typo. The amount of oil lost in the Kuwaiti Oil Fires is about two orders of magnitude greater than that lost in any other oil spill in recorded history. The reason why the Lakeview gusher isn't on a similar scale is because it was just one well... the Kuwaiti Oil Fires involved over seven hundred wells gushing uncontrolled for several weeks, and some for several months. The figures cited could still use more corroboration, but there's nothing the least bit surprising about the oil fires accounting for so much more oil spilled. P Aculeius (talk) 02:43, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Oil spill[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Oil spill's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Panetta":

  • From Marine pollution: Panetta, LE (Chair) (2003) America's living oceans: charting a course for sea change [Electronic Version, CD] Pew Oceans Commission.
  • From Environmental impact of shipping: Panetta, L. E. (Chair) (2003). "America's living oceans: charting a course for sea change." Electronic Version, CD. Pew Oceans Commission.
  • From Oil tanker: Panetta, L. E. (Chair) (2003). America's living oceans: charting a course for sea change [Electronic Version, CD] Pew Oceans Commission.

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 18:21, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Oil spill cleanup device[edit]

Perhaps this can be mentioned ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.242.236.184 (talk) 08:34, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Kuwaiti oil well fires were an oil spill?[edit]

Like the 1904 Bibi-Eibat oil well fire, the Kuwaiti oil fires, were not an oil spill while it was burning. Only the Gulf War oil spill was an oil spill.

As per the discussion ongoing on the talk page of the Kuwaiti oil fires.

Oil well fires aren't oil spills as the oils residence time in the atmosphere is measured in milliseconds and the oil itself does not cause any environmental damage, only the combustion products of the oil cause environmental damage, damage that is categorically of a different nature than the environmental damage from actual oil spills.

Lastly, during the second US invasion of Iraq in 2003, oil wells(30 to 50) were once again set on fire in the Persian gulf and these fires weren't described as oil spills, here * | here likewise this recent Oil well fire on Baku Hafiz Heydarov in May 2014 was not described as an oil spill.|here Wikipedia's bizarre definition of an oil spill that seemingly include oil well fires is not supported by anyone else and so, as per WP:No original research & WP:USEBYOTHERS, the section/article - largest oil spills should not include fires like those at Kuwait in 1991 & Iraq in 2003 as NO reliable agency actually classified those fires as oil spills, and more generally no reliable agency regards the act of burning oil as one in the same as the act of spilling oil.

92.251.207.0 (talk) 21:50, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Seriously? Because your argument on the other article's talk page wasn't going anywhere, you've taken up a new IP in order to create a ruckus on this one. This isn't a scholarly debate; it's a personal vendetta. You can't see how anybody would disagree with you, so you assert that everybody agrees, and try to make anybody who has doubts about your argument look like a fool so that they'll give up without even trying to debate you. I don't want to carry this on across page after page, going around in circles until it's just too frustrating to contribute to Wikipedia anymore. You've clearly had this argument with many editors before. Why do you have to keep pushing your points of view on everybody else? P Aculeius (talk) 00:12, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
(1) to completely eliminate your suggestion of foul play, I've not "taken up a new IP", I've a dynamic IP address that my service provider issues every time I connect to the internet. The only way I can keep my old IP address is if I stay connected constantly to the net and with that take a resulting increase in cost to my bill. Something I'm not prepared to do.
(2) I'm confused by what you mean by this -"You've clearly had this argument with many editors before"- I've never had this dicussion before with any other editors, only you my friend, a full disclosure of which I added as the very 1st sentence above.
(3) Your above diatribe does not at all deal with the issues I raised above. Can you, or can you not, provide a single reliable reference that classifies the Kuwait oil fires as an oil spill? If not, then logic dictates therefore that this oil spill article should remove the oil fires from the list of oil spills. As per WP:No Original Research.
Do you understand? It's pretty straightforward I would think?
31.200.164.150 (talk) 03:14, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I was referring to the fact that you argue your opponents into the ground until they're too sick to continue, as the numerous different accounts you've used to edit articles show. In this case you decided to register your disagreement with something I said in another article (and about a completely tangential point) by taking the battle to other articles I've worked on. You had no connection with this article or the point you've been making until I said something you didn't like in a completely different article. And I don't understand why I'm still fighting about an issue that wasn't even part of the argument in the other article... it's clear that you don't want to listen to any viewpoints other than your own, or acknowledge that it's possible to hold different opinions about something without proving that your opponent is totally wrong. I don't want to waste days and days trying to prove something to you that you're not willing to accept in the first place... something that was never even the point of the disagreement in the other article. Please, just drop this crusade... P Aculeius (talk) 04:12, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
What crusade? I'm simply requesting reliable references that actually describe the kuwait oil fires as oil spills. Seen as the references presently in this article attached to the kuwaiti oil fires, do not refer to it as an oil spill, your inclusion of it in the table is WP:OR.
You do understand that?
If you find a reliable source that'd be great!
Seen as you continually deflect from this glaring omission, it doesn't bode well for your WP:POV inclusion.
In a few days I'll tag this as WP:OR and [dubious ], in the mean time, if you know of any WP:RS that specifically describe the fires as an oil spill then by all means don't be shy sharing it!
31.200.164.150 (talk) 11:44, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
You're still missing the point. What is classified as an oil spill depends on the definition that you use. That's a matter of choice, not provable fact. The definition used in Wikipedia includes gushers that are set on fire, and that use has been largely undisputed for over four years. You can't exclude oil well fires from that definition without changing the definition itself to require that oil in a spill has to accumulate on land or in the water; otherwise oil emitted into the air and then burned without reaching the ground is just as valid as if it had pooled on the ground or poured into the water and then set ablaze. The definition of oil spill doesn't depend on what happens to the oil after it's emitted into the environment; only that it's released. Your threat to tag and then delete material as "original research" is based on a false premise; something isn't original research merely because it's based on a different point of view than your own. P Aculeius (talk) 14:09, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Firstly, you should skim WP:ISNOT & WP:WINARS, when you have, you'll realize Wikipedia is not a source and therefore when you say "definition used in Wikipedia" and that very definition on this article isn't even sourced to a reliable dictionary penned before this article even existed, it shows you have a lot to learn about what wikipedia is not. Secondly, it is in fact you who is trying to push their definition of "oil spill" beyond the remit of what WP:RS's state. No reliable source has classified the fire portion of the Kuwait oil fires as an oil spill, as they were primarily oil well fires, hence the name - Kuwait oil fires. To classify the oil fires as oil spills, as you have done, is WP:OR. I have since tagged this dubious claim of yours and if it is not supported by references soon, I'll remove the oil fires from the list in a few days. If you feel this is unfair, then by all means ask for a 3rd opinion here -> WP:3O!
92.251.133.92 (talk) 09:51, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Enough with the personal attacks. I've been an editor here for almost five years, and until this week I didn't have a cadre of detractors constantly citing strings of policies at me every time they didn't like my opinion about whether something should or shouldn't be included in an article, much less patronizing me by asking whether I understand at every turn, and then telling me that I clearly don't. I didn't claim that Wikipedia was a source for anything. But the article's contents are dictated by the scope of the article set forth in the article's lead. Have you cited a single source that says "once oil is burned it ceases to have ever been a spill" or that "the definition of an oil spill necessarily excludes burning oil emitted from wells or other equipment?" If not, then you're the one engaging in original research and point-of-view pushing. The fact that you've never before been involved with this article and only came here to carry on an argument with me after clashing over a completely different issue on another article is pretty strong evidence of that. So please, just stop this and go back to what you were doing before you decided to make this your casus belli. P Aculeius (talk) 13:29, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
If you feel I am attacking you, or that I am at war with you, then you are mistaken, I've intended no such thing, could you show specifically where I "attacked you" so that it may not occur by accident again? I'm simply trying to improve this Encyclopedia, not push my own point of view(POV). I can sort of understand how you might have interpreted my response to you as patronizing, but honestly if you are aware of WP:ISNOT and yet still advocate that oil fires are oil spills without any reliable contemporary( or pre-this wiki page) references which specifically classify the kuwait oil fires as ALL an oil spill, then I am seriously puzzled over how you don't grasp the contradiction of your actions.
(2) Yes you have been an editor for almost 5 years, but even in 2010 you were again pushing your own POV on this very matter here on this talk page -> Talk:Oil_spill#Should_the_Kuwaiti_oil_fires_be_included_on_this_page.3F, Your belief that uncontrolled oil fires like the kuwait oil fires are also oil spills was disputed by another editor even as far back as then.
(3) In regards to your request for me to try and go proving a negative, that's like asking me to find a reference that specifically states apples are not oranges. You hopefully recognize that if such references were ever a requirement for any Encyclopedia we'd have lists upon lists of what apples are not rather than what apples are. This is an analogy of course, to make the point that we don't need references to prove a negative, simply one to support your own, seemingly personal, notion that the kuwaiti oil fires were an oil spill, or in fact, any reliable reference that specifically classifies oil well fires as technically also an oil spill.
(4) I highly recommend you ask for a WP:3O, a fresh independent perspective would do wonders, particularly considering your antipathy towards me.
(PS)Apologies for the late reply. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.167.254.90 (talk) 22:38, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
You're confusing two unrelated concepts under the heading of POV. Editors aren't supposed to interject opinion into the subject matter of an article. If someone wrote, "oil spills are devastating to the global ecosystem and must be stopped," that would be prohibited POV pushing. If there were a controversy as to whether the amount of oil remaining in the environment after a spill cleanup were closer to 30,000 barrels or 45,000 barrels, an editor couldn't simply pick one figure and ignore the other, or remove references to other figures, or state that one number is preferable to another unless that can be cited to a reliable external source.
The question here is about the scope of the article, which is necessarily a matter of opinion. Editors can disagree as to the scope of an article without being provably right or wrong, and without any secondary sources resolving the matter. The fact that another editor questioned one view concerning the scope of the article doesn't mean that the view was prohibited POV pushing. You might also note that after the rationale was explained, the editor in question no longer contested the proposed inclusion. The matter was discussed and resolved some four years ago. Although this article is actively patrolled by a number of experienced editors, there's been absolutely no controversy over the scope of the article in all that time.
Now you've interjected your opinion on the matter, even though you've never been involved with this article, solely because you you disagreed with my decision to discuss the extent of the Gulf War Oil Spill, Kuwaiti Oil Fires, and Kuwaiti Oil Lakes as a group in another article. You got your way there, and you've carried your argument here. I've given you my answer and it clearly isn't good enough for you. But before you decide to alter the scope of an established article, which has already been discussed and settled for several years, you should be prepared to support that opinion with something other than negative evidence. And if you don't plan to be a regular contributor to this article, perhaps it would be easier for all concerned not to carry on this debate when no shots have been fired for almost two weeks... P Aculeius (talk) 01:55, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
I am responding to a third opinion request for this page. I have made no previous edits on Oil spill and have no known association with the editors involved in this discussion. The third opinion process is informal and I have no special powers or authority apart from being a fresh pair of eyes.

There are quite a few things to say here, but the main one is that, pretty obviously, an oil spill must involve spillage. Gushers are not spills, any more than a chip pan fire is a spill. So no, the Kuwaiti oil fires were not oil spills. To address some of the specifics here in more detail:

  • Wikipedia doesn't get to make up its own definitions. So, if the definition on this page doesn't accord with normal usage, then change it. The fact that it's been here for years makes no difference to whether or not it's OR.
  • In any case, the lede section of this page gives no clue that oil well fires are included. Most readers, in my opinion, would think that the lede excludes them.
  • It is quite easy to write prose that compares the size of an oil well fire with that of an oil well spill without having to conflate the two concepts. Just go ahead and compare them, e.g. in terms of barrels of oil lost.
  • It was right to bring the discussion to this page, because it concerns the definition of an oil well spill. The fact that the discussion started at Talk:Kuwaiti oil fires does not change this, because bringing it here will draw the discussion to the attention of editors concerned with oil spills but perhaps not with oil fires, or with these specific fires.
  • Editing from variabledynamic IP addresses is fine.
  • If one wishes to complain about personal attacks, one should not lead off with a personal attack.

I hope this helps. Regards, Stfg (talk) 10:20, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Since this request was made by the originator of the argument, who continues to have no interest in this article apart from winning the argument, it's still not particularly non-partisan. But I think it's worth responding to the points you made.
  • Nobody said that Wikipedia "makes up" definitions. But articles do define the scope of their coverage. Where reasonable people could differ as to the scope of an article, one cannot resort to mere instinct to prove which opinion should prevail.
  • The analogy to a burning frying pan is inapt, since it's highly unlikely that anyone would consider cooking oil from a frying pan to be an oil spill either. But this is the wrong argument in the first place; the scope of an article shouldn't be dictated by the expectation of the reader. Just because a reader expects an article about Henry VIII to be a recitation of crimes against women by a fat madman doesn't mean that the article shouldn't cover the subject thoroughly, including many facts that aren't nearly as well-known, and limit the section about Henry VIII's marriages to its natural proportions. The subject of an article can, and should go well beyond the expectation of a visitor if balanced and comprehensive coverage justifies it.
  • This discussion wasn't commenced with a personal attack. This editor merely expressed dismay that an argument started (and ultimately finished) at another article should have been carried over here, outside of the originating editor's interests, as a means of distracting this editor from the earlier argument and ultimately causing the abandonment of further and evidently futile attempts to resolve that issue. The reference to IP address editing was an attempt to show that the same editor has engaged in a pattern of extremely long-winded and uncompromising arguments in a wide variety of subjects over a long period of time, mostly under different user names and IP addresses (but under user names only in the past, and only with the anonymity of a dynamic IP in recent days).
  • If one wants to change the scope or coverage of an article, the proper way to do so is by establishing a consensus among the article's chief contributors or editors, if it is possible to do so. It's easy enough to ask for other editors who do have some connection with the article to give their opinion. But in this particular instance, that process hasn't gone anywhere, perhaps because those who've been editing it for the last several years are satisfied with the scope of the article and haven't concluded that it should be changed. It's been a month since this argument was launched; two weeks lapsed with no activity before the last exchange; and two more weeks before this one. And still, editors who've been involved with this article over the years still haven't expressed a desire to change the scope of the article. The debate had dwindled down to nothing some time ago, so is there any point in adding a non-interested party opinion now? P Aculeius (talk) 13:44, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Of course it's non-partisan, and the accusation that it isn't is also personalizing the argument. The personal attack I was referring to is this one. Yes, the right way to go is to try to establish consensus, but "establishing a consensus among the article's chief contributors or editors" is not the requirement. Indeed, the statement "Do not make such changes or comments until you have significantly edited or written work of this quality" is one of the examples in WP:OWN#Examples of ownership behaviour.
@IP: Sorry I couldn't help more, but I suspected this would happen, and third opinions are only opinions. As you probably know, other ways to seek progress are available to you if you wish to pursue this. They are listed at Wikipedia:Consensus#Consensus-building by soliciting outside opinions. Bye, --Stfg (talk) 14:31, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply that your response was partisan, merely that the way your opinion was solicited was. I apologize for implying otherwise. However, I dispute the characterization of this debate as ownership. It's not that I feel that having an opinion requires the contributor to have "significantly edited or written work of this quality." In fact, I don't see any mention of quality in here. But more specifically, the editor who wants to change the scope of the article in order to exclude something he wants to exclude has never had anything to do with this article, and still hasn't, apart from this argument. Winning this argument seems to be the sole connection between the editor and this article.
Again, I never intended to make a personal attack. But this argument was merely carried over from another debate in another article, which was far from non-confrontational. My arguments there were called "misleading and unscientific", "baseless and easily refuted," "unreferenced assumption," "false," and "bizarre." Nothing I could say was accepted and the other editor showed no willingness to compromise. The editor displayed what I feel was ownership behaviour with respect to that article, and in my opinion carrying on the debate over here was an extension of that. When I looked for the editor's contributions to other articles I found that this pattern occurred again and again with others. I gave up on that article because it seemed hopeless to continue if doing so meant having to put up a continuous defense on multiple fronts. I've done my best to make my case, and I don't believe that there's a consensus for changing the scope of this article. P Aculeius (talk) 15:06, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Your accusation that I simply want to "win the argument" is false and there is no evidence for that. If you have some evidence for that, then please share it, also, while we're on the subject, can you also link to this alleged "history" of "winning" behavior of mine? I'd be interested to see what you're talking about, as I really haven't the slightest idea.
To clear up something, my motivations are purely in line with those expressed by the third opinion editor, I simply want to improve the article, by eliminating the confusion & ambiguity of including oil that never actually spilled in a table of cases of real oil spills. Should the oil lost to fire be mentioned? Sure! but the entire oil "lost" in the kuwait oil fires shouldn't be in the table of strictly oil spills. Moreover we also need a referenced definition in the introduction of what an oil spill is. Would that be an edit that, I imagine, you'd have no problems with?
18:02, 9 July 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.167.254.62 (talk)

Discussion above continued[edit]

None of those links state that the Kuwait oil fires are also classified as oil spills. I'm totally confused why they're here and why they can't be removed or seen when one goes to edit this page?
178.167.254.48 (talk) 01:04, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
An unsolicited opinion: I also question whether or not the oil fires should be included, as it doesn't seem the same as a spill where the oil itself ends up in the environment. What I think is needed here is to find some WP:RS which detail the definition of an oil spill, and then to adopt that definition in the article, with citations. Someone here said that "articles define the scope of their coverage" -- but that does, in some sense, also constitute adopting a definition of the term. Or, perhaps, it would be better to say that "scope" means how much of what is already included under a term's definition is to be included in the article -- but if one includes things outside the authoritative definition of that term, one is essentially redefining the term. It would be like putting the Empire of Atlantium in a list of the world's countries, because even if it is a "country" by some minority of people's definition of that term, it is not one by the authoritative definition. To put it into the article would be to adopt a non-standard definition, a clear case of WP:OR. mike4ty4 (talk) 09:25, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't think you're going to get a more precise definition than the one used in the lead of this article: "an uncontrolled release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment." The words "oil spill" lead directly to this definition. "Oil" limits the use of the term to liquid, as opposed to natural gas or solidified oil; "spill" defines it as an uncontrolled release into the environment, as opposed to a carefully-controlled use, which isn't accidental and can be stopped at any time, or a release into a controlled area, such as a tank, a pool, or some other limited space. We had this debate, more than four years ago, and you participated at the time. The conclusion of that debate was that it didn't matter what happened to the oil after it was released; whether it burned, sank to the bottom of the ocean, or mixed into layers of "tarcrete." The release itself was a spill, and thus by definition an oil well fire is a type of oil spill.
The issue, as you saw it then, was that if the Kuwaiti Oil Fires were an oil spill, shouldn't other oil well fires be included on the list? The list was much longer then, but the answer boiled down to the question of quantities. As far as we know, no other oil fire has ever approached the scale of the largest oil spills. They're always contained before quantities of oil in this range are burned. Except this once. The Kuwaiti Oil Fires are sui generis; there has never been anything like them, before or since. Which is one more reason for not rewriting the definition of "oil spill" for the express purpose of excluding them.
There's an old saying in the law: "hard cases make bad law." It means that trying to construct a general principle around including or excluding specific examples simply because they're difficult to apply a general principle to causes more problems than it solves. In this case, separating amounts of oil burned in the air from quantities siphoned off the ground or vacuumed out of the water, to say that "b" and "c" are oil spills but "a" isn't, means creating exceptions to the basic definition solely for the purpose of excluding one case. It also means that in future, any oil spills in which some quantity was burned would have to be scrutinized to exclude that portion from statistics. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? Does it make sense to rewrite the definition of "oil spill" solely in order to exclude the most significant example of the thing it defines from consideration? I don't believe it does. P Aculeius (talk) 14:12, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
The Irish IP user here, back again. With all due respect P Aculeius, you have not convinced a single one of us that oil fires should be regarded as oil spills. I am unfamiliar with this "four years ago" debate you & mike4ty4 allegedly had, but it remains WP:OR of you to argue that the kuwait oil fires should be classified as oil spills. As not a single reference supports your opinion.
Moreover the ignition of the oil well fires wasn't "accidental" and was indeed "controlled" by the Iraqi combat engineers to produce the maximum incendiary effect. Under your stretching-of-the-definition to the absurb extent that you advocate, dropping oil/napalm from planes in wartime, would also be classified as an "oil spill" according to your own personal definition.
I will thus be removing the kuwait oil fires, from the list, as at this stage it has pretty much been determined by WP:consensus that it is WP:OR to include them in an article on oil spills. The 40 odd oil wells not set-alight in Kuwait during the period, along with the Gulf war oil spill, will obviously remain.
Apart from the obvious fact that the fires were just that, fires, and not oil spills. The deliberate oil fires set by Iraq are akin to gas flaring, in that both are "controlled" to do just that, go on fire. After all my posts to you, I really can't fathom how someone could still argue that they were "accidents" & oil spills etc.
31.200.172.50 (talk) 18:41, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not my job to convince you or anybody else that something should stay. The burden is on you to convince people that it should go. You've got one other person to reply, and that was just to say that he had his doubts. So you can't claim to have established any kind of consensus, and you don't have the right to speak for anyone else. You shouldn't be making controversial changes without establishing consensus; you're just imposing your viewpoint.
You're also introducing a red herring into the debate by insisting that the fires weren't uncontrolled because the Iraqis set them on purpose. The source of ignition does not determine whether something is a spill; only that it was deliberate. Would you insist that a pilot who deliberately steered an oil tanker into rocks could not cause an oil spill solely because he intended to do it? The article says that an oil spill is uncontrolled; nowhere does it say that it must be accidental.
Please don't put words in my mouth about napalm or personal definitions. I'm going by the definition established by the article. Napalm may be made with petroleum, but it is not petroleium; its release is not uncontrolled when it is released in precise locations in precise amounts for a specific purpose, as opposed to just opening a random valve and letting it run; and in any case there was never any question of including any use of it on any table of oil spills. Kicking over an oil drum and spilling its components would be an oil spill, even if you then set the oil on fire. But that's about oil, and the volume of the spill would be too small to make any list on Wikipedia. P Aculeius (talk) 20:21, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
Both myself, the IP editor, User:Stfg & mike4ty4 have all chipped in and none of us are convinced by your WP:OR move to classify the Kuwait oil fires as oil spills, as fundamentally, despite yor best efforts, not a single reputable source can be found that regards the entirety of the kuwait oil fires as an oil spill. WP:CONSENSUS applies to this case, therefore listing oil that was instantly combusted when it entered the air, alongside with real oil spills is unenclycopedic and it should be removed. While arguing that, I wish to make it clear to you that any oil, not combusted in the air during the kuwait fires, that came under the effects of gravity to spill out onto the land or sea, obviously should be regarded as indeed a case of oil spilling, and YES, spilling oil out of a "drum" were it impacts the ground and then igniting it, would also be regarded as and oil spill. However if you never "kick the drum over", and simply burn it in-situ, without tipping it over, then it never was an oil spill. As no actual spillage occured. Yet you resist this obvious fact?
Gas flaring at a well site. like the separation between oil well fires and oil spills, gas flaring is likewise classified separately from their unignited brethren methane seeps/gas "spills", not simply because of their vastly different effects on the environment.
Secondly, my whole response on your hang-ups about oil spills having to be defined as an "uncontrolled release of oil into the environment" was exactly designed to show you how absurd that definition is. Coca-cola spills, like oil spills occur when oil is spilled out on the earth's surface. Plain and simple. No need to get all obsessed about what is exactly meant by "uncontrolled" or "accidental", should natural and therefore totally uncontrolled petroleum seeps be included here too? etc. As, from the environmental standpoint, it really does not matter.
For a gas comparison that may help you, Oil well fires are analogous to gas flaring at refineries. While oil spills are analogous to methane seeps. We have two separate articles on wikipedia for gas flaring and unignited methane seeps & marsh gas for that matter. As flaring/burning gas at its release point produces vastly different environmental impacts to simply letting it spill/seep out into the air.
Lumping fires in with spills just doesn't make any literal nor logical sense, neither for oil nor gas. Unless your real motivation is trying to create some kind of accounting for all the oil ever released into the biosphere, including that ever used by humans and that which seeped/spilled out naturally, by petroleum seep. Short of that, none of us understand your point of view.
31.200.172.50 (talk) 23:38, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
As Stfg made clear, he was only responding to a request for comment, having no previous or subsequent involvement in the article or its development. Since you're the only person who keeps bringing this up and insisting it be changed to your viewpoint, and the only other people who've commented did so only because you solicited their involvement, despite the fact that you haven't been involved in the development or maintenance of this article either, I don't think you've achieved anything near consensus. Eight other named editors have been monitoring the article since the beginning of May, and none of them seem to think that it's a problem that requires a change in the article's scope or content.
But with respect to your assertion that no oil was spilled, that's clearly wrong. A great deal of the oil from the wells set on fire didn't burn, but pooled on the ground or rained down in a haze of oily vapor. It may or may not be possible to separate the burned part from the non-burned part, since they have always been treated as a single transaction; one incident.
You completely missed the point about the oil drum example. You argued that the oil fires didn't constitute a spill because they weren't uncontrolled, and that the reason they weren't uncontrolled was because they were set on purpose. You're still making that argument by stating that gas flares at a refinery would have to be included, despite the fact that they're gas flares, rather than oil wells. But even if they were petroleum shot right into the air and burned, they still wouldn't be uncontrolled unless you simply abandoned them, allowing them to burn without direct means of changing the rate of combustion or arresting the process. Refinery flares are controlled by definition. They also don't consist of liquid petroleum.
If you don't like the definition established at the beginning of this article, you're going to have to rewrite it in a fashion that's acceptable to the other editors, in order to include the things that you think belong and exclude the things that you think don't belong. Because right now, the Kuwaiti Oil Fires fit within the definition. You should stop trying to make a slippery slope argument about them by alluding to things like gas flares, methane seeps, grease fires, or napalm (none of which fit the definition because they're not liquid petroleum), or for that matter, other oil fires, since there's absolutely no risk of any other oil fire being added to this list in the foreseeable future. The Kuwaiti Oil Fires are sui generis and do not fit neatly in any categorization due to the scope and magnitude of the event; but they are included in the definition of "oil spill" used in this article, are relevant as part of the same series of transactions resulting in the second and fourth largest spills on the list, and belong to the same type of event; and because of the event's explicit name there is no risk of confusing it with other types of spills. So the urgency and persistence of your argument across nearly a full year seems entirely unnecessary. P Aculeius (talk) 18:19, 17 June 2015 (UTC)


Suppose an oil tanker exploded while at sea. All the oil onboard immediately combusted. Did an oil spill occur? In this case, since no oil affected land or sea, I (and I presume many others) would say no. Furthermore, suppose that an oil tanker runs aground. No oil has been spilled yet, but vapors do escape to the atmosphere as they pump the oil from the grounded tanker. Has an oil spill occurred? Again, probably not. Because oil spills generally do not refer to oil spilled to the atmosphere, because if it "spills" into the atmosphere, it is not liquid oil, it is a gas. 72.42.174.233 (talk) 05:28, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
There's no point in trying to restart the same argument every few months. All of the points have already been done to death, and there's no consensus. This article has a lot of regular editors and patrollers, and most of them seem perfectly satisfied with the current list, as nobody else has ever made an issue of changing it. I can only assume that the timing of this salvo is due to the fact that I reverted an instance of vandalism on the page yesterday, and so showed up on your watch list as having edited the article. For the sake of sanity, can we please let this drop? P Aculeius (talk) 13:17, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

Repeated tagging as "original research"[edit]

I've asked the editor who keeps tagging the list of largest oil spills as "original research" to bring the argument to the talk page, but so far all there have been are comments in the edit summaries, including a warning not to remove the tag. From my perspective, the repetitive tagging constitutes a means of advocating a particular point of view without attempting to obtain consensus from interested editors. I suspect this may be because previous discussions of the same issue failed to achieve consensus, and I also think that the other editor involved may be the same one who previously raised the issue here, but I cannot tell, because that editor did most of his editing from IP addresses.

The issue under dispute is whether the Kuwaiti Oil Fires ought to be included under the heading of "oil spills". This editor first raised that question five years ago, noting that they seemed to fall within the definition of "oil spill" set forth in the lead paragraph of the article: "the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment". That being the case, they would almost certainly be important to include on the basis of their massive and unprecedented scale. It was also difficult to separate them as a distinct occurrence from the pooling of oil on the ground from the same wells that were sabotaged by the retreating Iraqi army in 1991, since that portion of the transaction was indisputably within the scope of the article. As the two events are closely linked and arose out of the same transaction, it seemed reasonable to include both, if both could fit within the scope of the article.

This addition was relatively uncontroversial at the time, and accepted as within the article's scope for the next four years. But in June, 2014, a discussion of the same point occurring on the talk page of the article about the Kuwaiti Oil Fires was carried over here by another editor. After going back and forth for a month, the argument was dropped, and the other editor added a "dubious" tag requesting further discussion. Nobody else accepted the invitation to discuss it. Several months later, the same argument was revived, although there was no change in circumstances or basis. After that discussion finally died down without a consensus being reached, an editor is now adding tags claiming that the disputed inclusion of the Kuwaiti Oil Fires is "original research," and claiming that what makes it "original research" is that the cited sources don't refer to it as an oil spill.

Since the other editor has declined repeated requests to discuss the issue on the article's talk page, I'm initiating a discussion here. My position is that this is not a question of original research, but the scope of the article as defined in the lead paragraph. If an oil spill is defined as "the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment," then it is of no consequence whether the oil pools on the ground or in the water, or whether any of it is burned, on land, in the water, or in the air. It plainly fits within the scope of the article, and including it on that basis cannot be characterized as "original research" whether or not the cited sources state that it is or is not a type of oil spill.

It has been argued repeatedly that this would require other oil fires to be included on the list of oil spills, which they are not. But given that no other oil fire approaches the scale of the other spills included on this or the other table, it is unlikely that they would be included anyway. The Kuwaiti Oil Fires are sui generis, as there has never been a comparable event before or since, and it is to be hoped that such an event is never repeated. But given the magnitude of the release of oil, which far exceeds any other spill, it seems to me that excluding them from the article when they plainly fall within its scope would not only be arbitrary, but unhelpful to those researching the topic of oil spills, as the event is clearly relevant and important.

Once again, I invite the other editor to discuss this issue here on the article's talk page, instead of simply conducting a back-and-forth argument through edit summaries. P Aculeius (talk) 18:44, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

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Solidifiers[edit]

There doesn't seem to be any page on solidifiers. If made, add this: polyurethane/silane sponge

KVDP (talk) 16:05, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

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Kuwait[edit]

I don't want to rehash the earlier dispute of "fire vs spill", but imho the two Kuwaiti should be treated as one, since they are basically belong to the same spill/event. Treating them as several spill seems rather confusing at least without further explanation (separating land spill and (susequent) sea spill).--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:54, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Well they occurred with miles upon miles separating them, so while they are part of the war, they are not the same oil spill. one was at sea, the other, on land.
Boundarylayer (talk) 23:38, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
Separate events, different facts, locations, methods, vastly different scales; treated differently by various sources. Would make no sense to lump them all together. P Aculeius (talk) 03:30, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 3 December 2018[edit]

Remove "Solby's academically accelerated class took off on a mass journey to discover the advanced reasoning behind such science of oil and water. Below is the research they concluded." (the second paragraph) as it seems unnecessary. 138.87.133.14 (talk) 15:34, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

 Done  Spintendo  15:59, 3 December 2018 (UTC)