GULF OF MEXICO. - MAY 09: A boat heads towards the Gulf as work continues to try to contain the massive oil spill on May 9, 2010 in Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf and the slick has now reached nearby land. Efforts to contain the spill, including a 98-ton containment box to cap the leak, have done little to slow its flow. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Revisit the BP oil spill, 5 years later
01:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at oil spill disasters. Spill estimates vary by source.

Ten Largest Oil Spills

1. January 1991 - During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces intentionally release 252-336 million gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf.

2. April 20, 2010 - An explosion occurs on board the BP-contracted Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon oil rig, releasing approximately 168 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

3. June 3, 1979 - Ixtoc 1, an exploratory well, blows out, spilling 140 million gallons of oil into the Bay of Campeche off the coast of Mexico.

4. March 2, 1992 - A Fergana Valley oil well in Uzbekistan blows out, spilling 88 million gallons of oil.

5. February 1983 - An oil well in the Nowruz Oil Field in Iran begins spilling oil. One month later, an Iraqi air attack increases the amount of oil spilled to approximately 80 million gallons of oil.

6. August 6, 1983 - The Castillo de Bellver, a Spanish tanker, catches fire near Cape Town, South Africa, spilling more than 78 million gallons of oil.

7. March 16, 1978 - The Amoco Cadiz tanker runs aground near Portsall, France, spilling more than 68 million gallons of oil.

8. November 10, 1988 - The tanker Odyssey breaks apart during a storm, spilling 43.1 million gallons of oil northeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

9. July 19, 1979 - The Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain tankers collide near Trinidad and Tobago. The Atlantic Empress spills 42.7 million gallons of oil. On August 2, the Atlantic Empress spills an additional 41.5 million gallons near Barbados while being towed away.

10. August 1, 1980 - Production Well D-103 blows out, spilling 42 million gallons of oil southeast of Tripoli, Libya.

world's biggest oil spills fast facts graphics

Notable US Oil Spills

Union Oil Company
January 28, 1969 - Inadequate casing leads to the blowout of a Union Oil well 3,500 feet deep about five miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. About three million gallons of oil gush from the leak until it can be sealed 11 days later, covering 800 square miles of ocean and 35 miles of coastline and killing thousands of birds, fish and other wildlife.

The disaster is largely considered to be one of the main impetuses behind the environmental movement and stricter government regulation, including President Richard Nixon’s signing of the National Environmental Policy Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. It also inspired Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to found the first Earth Day.

Exxon Valdez
March 24, 1989 - The Exxon Valdez runs aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of oil.

March 22, 1990 - Captain Joseph Hazelwood is acquitted of all but one misdemeanor, negligent discharge of oil. Hazelwood is later sentenced to 1,000 hours of cleaning around Prince William Sound and is fined $50,000.

July 25, 1990 - At an administrative hearing, the Coast Guard dismisses charges of misconduct and intoxication against Captain Joseph Hazelwood, but suspends his captain’s license.

October 8, 1991 - A federal judge approves a settlement in which Exxon and its shipping subsidiary will pay $900 million in civil payments and $125 million in fines and restitution. Exxon says it has already spent more than $2 billion on cleanup.

September 16, 1994 - A federal jury orders Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages to fishermen, businesses and property owners affected by the oil spill.

November 7, 2001 - The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules that the $5 billion award for punitive damages is excessive and must be cut.

December 6, 2002 - US District Judge H. Russel Holland reduces the award to $4 billion.

December 22, 2006 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reduces the award to $2.5 billion.

June 25, 2008 - The US Supreme Court cuts the $2.5 billion punitive damages award to $507.5 million.

June 15, 2009 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals orders Exxon to pay $470 million in interest on the $507.5 million award.

BP Gulf Oil Spill
April 20, 2010 - An explosion occurs aboard BP-contracted Transocean Ltd Deepwater Horizon oil rig stationed in the Gulf of Mexico. Of the 126 workers aboard the oil rig, 11 are killed.

April 22, 2010 - The Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks. An oil slick appears in the water. It is not known if the leak is from the rig or from the underwater well to which it was connected.