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: 03/31/15

In the five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists have been studying just how this oil spill and response affected the deep ocean and seafloor of the Gulf.

What they found was the footprint of the oil spill on the seafloor, stamped on sickened deep-sea corals and out-of-balance communities of tiny marine invertebrates.

Published: 03/26/14

NOAA led an international team of researchers in a study which showed heart failure and other severe deformities when developing tuna were exposed to oil.

This study is part of ongoing research to determine how the waters, lands, and life of the Gulf of Mexico were harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and response in 2010.

Published: 11/24/15

How would anyone start to dig through all the scientific information gathered from the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

Learn how to use these two map-based NOAA tools to start exploring!

Published: 11/04/15

A new study led by NOAA outlines a trend of reproductive failure and death in Gulf bottlenose dolphins over nearly five years of monitoring after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Of the 10 Barataria Bay dolphins confirmed to be pregnant during a 2011 health assessment, only two successfully gave birth to calves that have survived.

Published: 04/24/15

A flexible new data management tool—known as DIVER and developed by NOAA to support the damage assessment for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill—is now available for public use.

You can use it to find and download environmental impact data from the Gulf of Mexico.

Published: 04/16/15

Since the iconic 1969 oil well blowout in Santa Barbara, California, there have been numerous oil spills over 10,000 barrels which affected U.S. waters.

The largest of which was the 2010 Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

See a map showing the largest oil spills in U.S. waters.

Published: 04/10/15

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there have been various additional investments, outside of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, in more broadly learning about and restoring the Gulf of Mexico.

These distinct efforts to fund research and restoration in the Gulf have been sizable, but keeping track of them can be, frankly, a bit confusing.

Published: 12/17/13

As part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a team of researchers performed comprehensive health assessments of bottlenose dolphins living in Louisiana's Barataria Bay, which was oiled in the spill, and Florida's Sarasota Bay, which was not.

Read a Q&A with two of the NOAA scientists involved and watch a video to learn what their findings mean for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico.

Published: 05/20/15

What has been causing the alarming increase in dead bottlenose dolphins along the northern Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

Scientists have found even more evidence connecting these deaths to the same signs of illness found in animals exposed to petroleum products, as reported in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE.

Published: 04/01/15

NOAA research following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the northern Gulf of Mexico examined the potential for the spilled crude oil to damage the developing hearts of fish and thus impact fish populations and commercial fisheries.

Studies found that concentrations of crude oil measured in Gulf spawning habitats could cause cardiac-related deformities in species including bluefin and yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi.