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U.S. oil spills quadrupled since 2000

U.S. oil spills quadrupled since 2000
Soaked in oil, browns await cleaning at a rescue center set up by the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Buras, Louisiana, June 7, 2010. The birds, covered in crude from from the Deepwater Horizon accident, were cleaned and will be released. Oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for over a month since a massive explosion on the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon. UPI/A.J. Sisco.... | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- Oil spills in U.S. waters from rigs and pipelines have more than quadrupled in this decade, government records show.

U.S. Minerals Management Services says the annual total of oil spills has increased from an average of four spills per year of 50 barrels or more in the 1990s to more than 17 per year from 2000 to 2009, USA Today reported Tuesday.

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One barrel of oil is equal to 42 gallons, MMS says.

Figures indicate the company with the highest average number of spills this decade is oil giant BP, which has been trying to cap a well that has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20.

Not counting the current spill, BP and its affiliated companies have reported 23 spills of 50 barrels or more since 2000.

MMS says Shell Oil Co. is next with 21 spills.

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