That is no longer the case, as the quantities of fish brought in off the gulf have continued to rise, and the Food and Drug Administration has given the Gulf's fish and oysters a clean bill of health.There has been an oyster shortage over the past few years, but that is due more to an absence of salinity in the water than to the presence of oil. The marshes of Louisiana were flooded with oil after the spill, and some of that oil remains in the form of tar balls scattered across the wetlands.“The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 per cent of our energy are running out.” Carter’s talk was poorly received. Far from running out, oil and natural gas reserves were, if not inexhaustible, then unfathomably vast. Moreover, as well as bountiful oilfields in North America, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other producers in the Middle East, there are massive, barely tapped reserves in South America, Africa and the Arctic: not billions of barrels’ worth, but trillions. On the contrary, according to a Harvard University report published last year, we are heading for a glut.

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It was five years ago today that an undersea BP oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico 40 miles off the Louisiana coastline, killing 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig and causing one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.

For 87 agonising days, millions of gallons oil spewed from the ocean floor 5,000 ft beneath the ocean surface, much of it flowing under the relentless gaze of a televised “spill cam” as BP tried various methods to cap the blow-out.

After months of intense cleanup efforts the Gulf's beaches look pristine, though in some areas oil deposits still wash up from time to time.

According to BP less than one mile of coastline remains "heavily oiled", with more than 50 per cent contamination.

Fracking was actually pioneered in Kansas in the Forties but it is only recently, thanks to numerous improvements, that it has become economically viable.

Oil previously thought unreachable is now within our grasp.

The company mounted a massive clean-up operation (the total cost after five years now stands at billion) and set up a billion compensation fund but that did little to allay the fury.

On July 15 2010, after several failed attempts, the oil gusher was finally capped.

No link between the spill and the declines in dolphin and turtle populations has been scientifically proved.