NOAA: Most of the Gulf oil is gone

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The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A third of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a government report.

An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, 26 percent, is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tar balls, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments.

"Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn't oil still in the water column or that our beaches and marshes aren't still at risk," NOAA said in a  statement. "Knowing generally what happened to the oil helps us better understand areas of risk and likely impacts."

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