Oil Spill Causes

Unfortunately, oil spills occur more often than we think. While large accidents such as the Gulf Coast and Exxon-Valdez oil spills receive a lot of attention in the media, it is estimated that hundreds of smaller spills occur throughout the world each year. In some cases, oil spills are caused when wells begin to leak. In other cases, explosions on rigs or at well sites can cause spills. In other cases, such as the Exxon-Valdez disaster, ships carrying oil begin to leak this dangerous substance. Here are some of the common oil spill causes

Causes of oil spills

Shipping Accidents

With so many vessels navigating the world's waterways, in addition to other obstructions such as reefs, icebergs, and landmasses, accidents are inevitable. When oil tankers are involved in accidents, it can have a devastating affect on the ocean, its inhabitants, and those that rely on the health of the ocean for their own survival. Oil tankers have leaked millions of gallons of oil into the ocean due to defective parts, collisions, and bad weather. Clean-up efforts after oil spills in the ocean can only go so far. In the majority of cases, a significant amount of marine life dies and those that survive are not safe for consumption. This throws of the balance of local environments and can impact businesses and workers in the fishing, shipping, and tourism industries.


An explosion at the site of an exploration well that was being changed into a production well caused the Gulf Coast oil spill. This triggered an oil leak 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Sadly, explosions at digging sites can cause small or massive oil leaks.

Defective or Old Parts

Malfunctioning parts, poor maintenance, and defective products can also trigger oil leaks. The process of extracting oil beneath the seafloor is a complex process that requires properly functioning parts, a competent workforce, and stringent safety regulations. If a part on a ship, oil rig, or at a well fails, it can cause an oil spill.

Consult an Attorney

The companies involved in oil spills have been fined for the environmental and economic damage these accidents have caused. If your life has been affected, contact an attorney.

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