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Timeline of BP oil spill

by Dana J. Quigley and Catherine McNiff

Source: U.S. Coast Guard

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The following timeline includes the major developments related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The circumstances surrounding the spill, the amount of oil spilled, and the attendant environmental damage are also given.


Tuesday, April 20 Located about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast, British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes around 11 p.m. EST. As many as 15 crew members are reported missing; 98 workers escape without serious injury. Thursday, April 22 The search continues for 11 confirmed missing workers. continues to burn. A 30-mile-long plume of smoke emanates from the rig. Effects of the explosion may have been worse if the rig had been in production rather than in exploration mode. The rig later sinks into the ocean. Sunday, April 25 The Coast Guard allows the use of remote underwater robots to activate a blowout preventer to stop the leak. Monday, April 26 Rescue efforts for missing crew members are suspended. Underwater robots discover two leaks that are dumping about 1, 000 barrels of oil per day into the ocean. Speculation about the environmental, financial, and personal impact of the oil spill (or more accurately described, oil leak) raises wide concern. Wednesday, April 28 Experts are stumped about how to stop the leaks and effectively clean up the oil already in the ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard suggests a solution to set the oil slick on fire; a contained area is set on fire later in the day. Experts revised their leak rates from 1, 000 barrels of oil per day to 5, 000. It is confirmed that the oil slick has reached the Mississippi Delta. Thursday, April 29 President Obama pledges all available resources to contain the spill. He also says that BP will be held responsible for the cleanup. Friday, April 30 The Obama administration states that it will not authorize any new offshore drilling until the cause of the rig explosion is fully understood and measures to prevent another such disaster are put in place. BP CEO Tony Hayward says that BP takes full responsibility for the spill and will pay for the cleanup and all legitimate claims.


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