The website for UK based partnership Step Change in Safety posted a piece by former Shell International Health and Safety Group auditor Bill Campbell, who looked at public data on blowouts. Some of his conclusions, below:
World-wide since 1955 and prior to Deepwater Horizon there have been 44 notable blowout events causing 79 deaths, with significant loss of assets and one event in 1979 causing massive pollution. In this 55-year period, 1955 – 2010, the mean time between blowouts was 15 months.
What does history tell us about the Gulf of Mexico?
In the 37-year period 1964 – 2001 there were 10 blowouts or 23% of the world-wide events. This resulted in 27 deaths or 34% of the deaths world-wide. One event, the blowout on the Semi-submersible Sedco 135F caused pollution into the Gulf of an estimated 455,000 to 480,000 [metric tons] of oil.
In the 46 year period 1964 – 2010, including the Deepwater Horizon there have been 11 blowouts, resulting in an additional 11 deaths and pollution estimated on 4th July last of between 333,000 – 572,000 [metric tons] of oil.
By comparison in the UK North Sea there have been two blowouts, one in 1977 on a fixed installation, and one in 1988 on a Semi-submersible with one fatality over the 55 years period from 1955 to 2010.