Energy giant BP has said it will “never forget the 11 people who lost their lives, nor the damage caused” in the Deepwater Horizon disaster exactly 10 years ago.
The blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in four million tonnes of oil being spilled, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, placing it among the worst accidents of its kind in history.
BP’s costs from the tragedy total at around $69billion (£55.2bn), including response, clean-up, economic claims, government payments, settlements and restoration.
A spokesman for the London-headquartered firm said: “The Deepwater Horizon accident forever changed BP.
“We will never forget the 11 people who lost their lives, nor the damage caused. In 2010, we committed to help restore the Gulf region economically and environmentally as well as to become a safer company.
“The Gulf has recovered well and the lessons we learned and the changes we made – from tougher standards to better oversight – are the foundation of our culture of care.
“A decade later, we are proud of how we honoured our commitments but remain keenly aware that we must always put safety first.”
The oil giant pointed to a series of measures it has taken in the decade since Macondo, including an improved safety culture, enhanced technology for capping wells which have blown out and its continued investment in the Gulf of Mexico.
At its peak in 2010, the clean-up effort involved 48,000 people, with the last active operations ending in April 2014.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive said the 10th anniversary is a “timely opportunity to reflect” emphasising that safety must not be compromised, especially now as the world focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chris Flint, director of HSE’s Energy Division, said the accident and lives lost remain “fresh in our minds”, highlighting that the disaster brought an EU directive to reduce the frequency and consequences of major offshore accidents in member countries.
He added: “The decade following Deepwater Horizon has undoubtedly been one of change, renewed focus and implementing lessons from the disaster.
“Remembering the lessons, losses and impacts of Deepwater Horizon, and in facing the new challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and volatile oil markets, we must not compromise on major accident control.”