# Statistical Analysis of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spills of Less than 1,000 Barrels

*by*Alexis Lugo-Fernández, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, United States,

**Document Type:**Proceeding Paper

**Part of:**Coastal Zone '93

**Abstract:**

A statistical analysis of the Minerals Management Service's (MMS) historic oil-spill data associated with Gulf of Mexico OCS oil production activities is presented. The analysis focused on two categories of oil spills defined by MMS; (1) greater than 1 (0.2 m^{3} and smaller than or equal to 50 (8 m^{3}) barrels (1-50 bbl), and (2) greater than 50 and smaller than 1,000 (159 m^{3}) barrels (50-1,000 bbl). The data analyses show that the number of spills decreases as the volume of oil spilled increases. An average of 44 ± 18 small spills of 1-50 bbl occurs per year. Their occurrence probability is described by a binomial distribution with the following parameters: n = 10 classes, p = 0.485, and q = 0.515. The spill rate for the category of 1-50 bbl has decreased since 1979, its present value is 152 spills per 10^{9} barrels of produced oil. This reduction represents a decrease of 34 percent over an 11-year period. Spills of 50-1,000 bbl appear to be uniformly distributed and average about one spill per year. The mean spill rate for this category is six spills per 10^{9} barrels of produced oil with no significant changes over the last 11 years.

**Subject Headings:**Hazardous materials spills | Management methods | Coastal management | Information management | Probability | Probability distribution | Environmental issues | Statistics | Mexico | Gulf of Mexico

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