A view of response ships at the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a month after the rig exploded and sank, tragically claiming the lives of 11 people. (NOAA)

A view of response ships at the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a month after the rig exploded and sank, tragically claiming the lives of 11 people. (NOAA)

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform tragically killed 11 workers, and started the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA was on the scene from the earliest moments of the crisis, bringing more than 25 years of experience protecting and restoring our coasts from oil spills.

As the lead science agency for coastal oil spills, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration provided mission-critical information to guide the emergency response, the natural resources damage assessment and the restoration plan. NOAA scientists continue their commitment to the Gulf as we report on the short and long term effects to the fish, wildlife and habitat injured by the spill, as well as the lost recreational use along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

On April 4, 2016, the court approved a settlement with BP for natural resource injuries stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This settlement concludes the largest natural resource damage assessment ever undertaken.

We will now begin implementing restoration as laid out in the Trustees' comprehensive restoration plan. Under this settlement, BP will pay the Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resources injuries and lost recreational uses. Follow restoration projects in each Gulf state.

Find more information on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment from the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council and access NOAA data and information related to the spill, including science studies about the long term environmental impacts.

Published: 10/05/15

NOAA and the other Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees have released 15-year comprehensive, integrated environmental ecosystem restoration plans for the Gulf of Mexico in response to the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill.

Published: 03/31/15
Published: 10/26/15

A study published in October 2015 reveals that the footprint of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill extends to coral communities in shallower Gulf waters, up to 67 miles from the wellhead.

Published: 07/06/15

BP announced on July 2, 2015 that it has reached an agreement in principle with the United States and the five Gulf states to settle the civil claims against the company arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill tragedy.

BP has announced the value of the settlement to be approximately $18.7 billion.

Published: 04/21/15

Keeping up with emerging technologies and changing energy trends helps us become better prepared for the oil spills of tomorrow.

That means being ready for anything, whether spills stem from a derailed oil train, a pipeline of oil sands, or a cargo ship passing through Arctic waters.

Published: 04/17/15

In the middle of the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a scientific debate emerged about the role of chemical dispersants in response to the spill.

Five years later, we know a lot more, but many of the scientific, public, and policy questions remain open to debate.

Published: 04/16/15

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the government began planning a lot of scientific studies and collecting a lot of data on the spill's impacts.

Learn about the digital solution NOAA created to gather together and organize what would become an unprecedented amount of scientific data from this spill.

Published: 04/13/15

NOAA science adviser Charlie Henry received an urgent phone call in the middle of the night on April 20, 2010.

He was told of an explosion and fire on the drilling platform Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

This began months of unusual challenges and stresses that Henry and his NOAA colleagues will never forget.

Published: 04/09/15

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NOAA debuted the online mapping tool ERMA, which organized crucial response data into one common picture for everyone involved in this monumental spill.

Learn how NOAA developed this pivotal piece of technology under the pressure of a real emergency.

Published: 04/02/15

Dolphins washing up dead in the northern Gulf of Mexico are not an uncommon phenomenon.

What has been uncommon, however, is how many more dead bottlenose dolphins have been observed in coastal waters affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the five years since.