Here's a look at what you need to know about oil spill disasters.
Spill estimates vary slightly by source.
Ten Largest Oil Spills: 1. January 23 - January 24, 1991 - During the Gulf War, the Iraqi Army purposefully releases 240 million gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf. (Spill estimates of this event vary widely by source, 25-460 million gallons. 240 million gallons reported by the Oil Spill Intelligence Report)
2. April 20, 2010 - An explosion occurs on board the BP-contracted Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon oil rig, spilling approximately 210 million gallons of oil into 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 4, 1983 - An oil well in the Nowruz Oil Field in Iran, blows out and begins spilling oil into the Persian Gulf. One month later an Iraqi air attack increases the amount of oil spilled to 80 million gallons of oil.
6. August 6, 1983 - The Castillo de Bellver, a Spanish tanker, catches fire near Cape Town, South Africa, spilling 78.5 million gallons of oil.
7. March 16, 1978 - The Amoco Cadiz tanker runs aground near Port Sall, France, spilling 68.7 million gallons of oil.
8. November 10, 1988 - The British-owned tanker, the Odyssey, breaks apart during a storm, spilling 43.1 million gallons of oil approximately 700 miles east-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.
Notable U.S. Oil Spills: Exxon Valdez March 24, 1989 - The Exxon Valdez runs aground on the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of oil.
February 27, 1990 - A federal grand jury indicts Exxon Corp. and its subsidiary, Exxon Shipping Co., on criminal charges.
March 23, 1990 - Captain Joseph J. Hazelwood is acquitted of all but one misdemeanor (negligent discharge of oil).
June 1991 - It is estimated that Exxon has spent $2.5 billion for the Alaska cleanup. It is reported in the news that $300 million was given as a one-time payment to 11,000 fishermen, fish processors and others affected right after the spill.
September 16, 1994 - A federal jury orders Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages.
December 6, 2002 - U.S. District Judge Russel Holland reduces the original damages award to $4 billion.
December 22, 2006 - The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reduces the amount to $2.5 billion dollars.
June 25, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court cuts the $2.5 billion punitive damages award to $507.5 million.
June 15, 2009 - The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco orders Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay about $470 million in interest on punitive damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
June 29, 2009 - Exxon Mobil Corp. agrees to pay $470 million in interest on the punitive damages from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
BP Gulf Oil Spill: April 20, 2010 - (10:00pm) An explosion occurs on board the Transocean Ltd Deepwater Horizon oil rig stationed in the Gulf of Mexico. Of the 126 workers aboard the oil rig, contracted by BP, 11 are killed.
April 22, 2010 - The Transocean Ltd. Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks after three days of the U.S. Coast Guard trying to put out flames.
April 30, 2010 - BP CEO Tony Hayward announces BP will compensate all those affected by the oil spill.