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FACTBOX-Developments in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

June 1 (Reuters) - Here are developments in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest in U.S. history:


* After BP Plc BP.L said the complex "top kill" maneuver to plug its Gulf of Mexico oil well had failed on Saturday, it is moving to the next option -- the lower marine riser package cap, which will capture oil from the well rather than plug it.

* The company will know by the end of the week whether the new containment effort has worked, BP Managing Director Robert Dudley said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

* Government scientists estimated that cutting the riser pipe coming out of the blowout preventer to prepare for the next containment option could result in a temporary oil flow increase of up to 20 percent.

* The ultimate solution may be the drilling of two relief wells began in May and to be completed in August, an expensive but more reliable way to intercept and cap the leaking well.


* The huge oil slick from the gushing well could threaten the Mississippi and Alabama coasts this week, driven by moderate southerly and southwesterly winds, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

* Louisiana’s wetlands and fishing grounds have been the worst hit so far by the spill, while Mississippi and Alabama have had only scattered tar balls and oil debris reaching their coasts.

* The NOAA forecast was a sober reminder that oil from the unchecked spill, broken up and carried by winds and ocean currents, could threaten a vast area of the U.S. Gulf Coast, including Florida, as well as Cuba and Mexico.


* President Barack Obama met on Tuesday with the co-chairs of a commission he set up to investigate the spill, former Senator Bob Graham and former Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly. Obama vowed to overhaul U.S. laws and regulations governing offshore drilling to prevent a repeat of the catastrophe.

* Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department has launched a criminal and civil investigation into the spill and rig explosion that killed 11 workers. The FBI is taking part.

* Democratic lawmakers stepped up their calls for action. Representative Ed Markey called the spill an “environmental crime” and Senator Mary Landrieu demanded BP invest $1 billion in wetlands protection.

* On Sunday, the president ordered government and contractor clean-up resources in areas affected by oil be tripled.


* Dudley said that he does not think BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who has faced heavy criticism, should resign.

* BP’s total financial cost of the response to the disaster now stands at $990 million, and is rising.


* BP shares plunged on Tuesday after the top kill strategy failed, and the company has now lost more than a third of its market value, or about 46 billion pounds ($67 billion), since the leak started six weeks ago.


“We have begun both a criminal as well as a civil investigation as is our obligation under the law,” Holder said. “If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be forceful in our response.” (Writing by Mary Milliken; editing by Mohammad Zargham)