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Ixtoc Spill


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Essential Oxygen Facts

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Ixtoc Spill

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The Ixtoc Disaster


No it is not a typing error. It is not just a sick joke. But it was to be prophetic.


Ixtoc an anagram for the word toxic was the name for this oil rig, and it turned out to be exactly that - toxic. The name, flashing like a giant beacon, warning of what it was to come. It was to be a blueprint for the coming BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, which  followed 32 years later.


The date.        1978: 

The place:       The Gulf of Mexico.

The owners:    The corporation corporation, Pemex owned by the Mexican government.

The events:     A rise of pressure from natural gas blew out the well head. A safety device failed to seal the well, attempts to stop the flow took almost a year to succeed. Tens of thousands of barrels of oil poured into the ocean each day.

The volume:    More than 140 million gallons of crude oil contaminated the ocean and the coastal environs.

The area:        2,800 square kilometers

Compensation: Pemex spent $100 million  on the cleanup. However it avoided most compensation claims by asserting Sovereign Immunity as a state run corporation.

The effect:      visible destruction of wildlife and the livelihood of those who depended on the area. Some of the effects can still be observed today, 32 years later.

 Unseen or hidden, and certainly unreported, was the untold damage to the diatoms which produce our oxygen. Just how blind can people be?  

Blind greed, incompetence, and arrogance, perhaps coupled with corruption and a desire for power, lead to an expansion of ocean oil drilling instead of its cessation. Even worse, the further drilling took place at even greater depths than Ixtoc had been.  Ixtoc was working at 150 feet; the aptly named BP Deepwater well has been operating at 4,993 feet.

To throw more fuel on the fire of disgust and anger at the Deepwater disaster, there had been yet another warning event, nearly ten years earlier than Ixtoc. In 1969, just 2 years after the Torrey Canyon disaster, at Santa Barbara off the California coast, a platform exploded and dumped 3 million gallons of crude into the ocean in just 4 weeks.


To have :

1. disaster is bad enough, 

2. is unacceptable,

3. is intolerable and the culprits must be brought under control.


If we are to survive it is vital that we establish a COMPETENT controlling body which will be open and FULLY TRANSPARENT and with real power to oversee the oil industry.

Since 1910 there have been more than 100 known oil spills into our oceans.

Save the ocean diatoms that provide most of our oxygen  

Make your voice heard.   Tell everyone you can - before it is too late.



Copyright 2010 World Oxygen Levels
Last modified: 03/22/13