Protecting the environment while producing, transporting, refining and marketing fuel is a challenge the petroleum industry must meet every day. For all of the benefits oil has brought to modern society, risk is inherent in taking it from the Earth -- in drilling wells, storing fuel for future use and transporting it from place to place. API member companies try their hardest every day to minimize these risks.Oil is a natural substance -- the beneficial uses of oil were discovered when natural seeps were found to have amazing uses. Called "burning springs," native Americans would skim oil from the surface of these magic streams and make torches of fabric dipped in the substance.
While seeps are natural, we have an obligation to protect nature from accidental oil spills from our operations that can damage an ecosystem. The petroleum industry is working closely with government agencies, universities and research centers to reduce the frequency and impact of oil spills. As a result of new operating procedures and research into advanced technologies, the industry has made tremendous progress in preventing spills over the past decade.
In 1997, the latest year that Coast Guard statistics are complete, the volume of oil spilled in U.S