June 3 Millions of gallons (liters) of oil have
poured into the Gulf of Mexico since an April 20 blast on the
Deepwater Horizon rig triggered a huge spill, soiling 100 miles
(160 km) of coastline, threatening some of the richest U.S.
fisheries and endangering a fragile marine ecosystem.
Below is a timeline of the spill and its impact.
April 20, 2010 - Explosion and fire on Transocean Ltd's
drilling rig Deepwater Horizon licensed to BP (BP.L); 11
workers are killed. The rig was drilling in BP's Macondo
project 42 miles (68 km) southeast of Venice, Louisiana,
beneath about 5,000 feet (1,525 metres) of water and 13,000
feet (4 km) under the seabed.
April 22 - The Deepwater Horizon rig, valued at more than
$560 million, sinks and a five mile long (8 km) oil slick is
April 25 - The Coast Guard approves a plan to have remote
underwater vehicles activate a blowout preventer and stop leak.
Efforts to activate the blowout preventer fail.
April 28 - The Coast Guard says the flow of oil is 5,000
barrels per day (bpd) (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres) -- five
times greater than first estimated. A controlled burn is held
on the giant oil slick.
April 29 - U.S. President Barack Obama pledges "every
single available resource," including the U.S. military, to
contain the spreading spill.
-- Obama also says BP is responsible for the cleanup.
Louisiana declares state of emergency due to the threat to the
state's natural resources.
April 30 - An Obama aide says no drilling will be allowed
in new areas, as the president had recently proposed, until the
cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident is known.
-- BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says the company takes
full responsibility for the spill and would pay all legitimate
claims and the cost of the cleanup.
May 2 - Obama visits the Gulf Coast to see cleanup efforts
first hand. U.S. officials close areas affected by the spill to
fishing for an initial period of 10 days. BP starts to drill a
relief well alongside the failed well, a process that will take
two to three months to complete.
May 5 - A barge begins towing a 98-ton containment chamber
to the site of the leak. BP says one of the three leaks has
been shut off by capping a valve, but that will not cut the
amount of oil gushing out.
May 6 - Oil washes ashore on the Chandeleur Islands off the
Louisiana coast, uninhabited barrier islands that are part of
the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.
May 7 - BP tries to lower the containment dome over the
leak, but the device was rendered useless by a slush of frozen
hydrocarbons that clogged it. A fishing ban for federal waters
off the Gulf is modified, expanded and extended.
May 9 - BP says it might try to plug the undersea leak by
pumping materials such as shredded up tires and golf balls into
the well at high pressure, a method called a "junk shot."
May 11/12 - Executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton
appear at congressional hearings in Washington. Senate Energy
Committee chairman Jeff Bingaman says that it appears that the
explosion on the rig is due to a "cascade of errors",
technical, human and regulatory. The executives blame each
May 14 - Obama slams companies involved in the spill,
criticizing them for a "ridiculous spectacle" of publicly
trading blame over the accident in his sternest comments yet.
May 16 - BP succeeds in inserting a tube into the leaking
riser pile of the well and capturing some oil and gas.
May 18 - The U.S. nearly doubles a no-fishing zone in
waters affected by the oil, extending it to 19 percent of U.S.
waters in the Gulf.
May 19 - The first heavy oil from the spill sloshes ashore
in fragile Louisiana marshlands and part of the fragmented oil
slick enters a powerful current that could carry it to the
Florida Keys and beyond.
May 26 - A "top kill" maneuver starts, involving pumping
heavy fluids and other material into the well shaft to try to
stifle the flow.
May 28 - Obama tours the Louisiana Gulf coast on his second
visit - "I am the president and the buck stops with me," he
-- BP CEO Tony Hayward flies over the Gulf. BP says the
disaster has so far cost the company $930 million.
May 29 - BP says the complex "top kill" maneuver to plug
the well has failed, crushing hopes for a quick end to the
largest oil spill in U.S. history already in its 40th day.
June 1 - BP shares plunge 17 percent in London trading,
wiping $23 billion off its market value, on news the latest
attempt to plug the well has failed.
-- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice
Department has launched a criminal and civil investigation into
the rig explosion and the spill.
June 2 - BP continues work on a new plan to try to capture
most of the escaping oil. This involves using robot submarines
to cut off what is left of the leaking riser pipe, then
lowering a containment cap over the wellhead assembly. Some
difficulties are encountered with the cutting operation.
-- U.S. authorities expand fishing restrictions to cover 37
percent of U.S. federal waters in the Gulf.
June 3 - After previous sharp declines, BP shares rise more
than 3 percent on market hopes that the latest plan to control
the leaking well may make some progress. The six-week-old
crisis has wiped a third off BP's market value since it began.
(Compiled by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;
Editing by Pascal Fletcher)