Deepwater horizon accident 180x

Gulf Oil Spill

  • The Accident

    The Accident
    Problems on Transocean Ltd's drilling rig (named Deepwater Horizon and licensed to British Petroleum or BP). An explosion and fire kills 11 workers. The rig is located 42 miles (68 km) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, and is drilling in about 5,000 feet (1,525 meters) of water and 13,000 feet (4 km) under the seabed.
  • The slick appears

    The slick appears
    A Five mile long (8 km) oil slick is seen after the Deepwater Horizon rig sinks.
  • Blowout preventer activation fail

    The U.S. Coast Guard approves a plan to use remote underwater vehicles to stop the leak by activating a blowout preventer, but this effort fails.
  • Controlled Burn

    A controlled burn is held on the giant oil slick, but the flow of leaking oil is about 5,000 barrels per day (210,000 gallons/795,000 liters) -- more than first estimated.
  • State of Emergency

    State of Emergency
    Louisiana declares state of emergency because of possible threat to it's natural resources.
  • BP takes responsibility

    BP takes responsibility
    All drilling in the gulf is stopped until the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident is known. BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward says BP will take full responsibility for cleanup and will pay all legitimate claims.
  • Obama visits beach

    Obama visits beach
    BP starts relief well drilling alongside the failed well, but this may take at least 10 weeks to complete. Obama visits the Gulf Coast to view cleanup operations.
  • Containment dome fails

    Early attempts to lower large containment dome over the leak fail due to frozen hydrocarbons slush that clogs it. A fishing ban for federal waters off the Gulf is extended. Oil is seen on the shores of shores of Louisiana's Chandeleur Islands (uninhabited barrier islands)
  • Congressional Hearings

    At congressional hearings in Washington it is revealed that a "cascade of errors", technical, human and regulatory are to blame for the accident.
  • BP captures some oil

    BP succeeds in capturing some of the leaking oil and gas.
  • Oil finds the shore

    Oil finds the shore
    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.
  • Good maneuver fails

    A "top kill" maneuver (that involves pumping heavy fluids and other material into the well shaft is tried - but within 3 days is considered a failure. BP says the disaster has so far cost close to $1 billion.
  • BP brings out the sub's

    BP brings out the sub's
    BP works on a to capture escaping oil using robot submarines to cut off oil leaking from a riser pipe, then lowering a containment cap over the wellhead assembly.
  • Half the oil is captured

    Half of leaking oil is captured, but leak contiues
  • hurricane disrupts cleanup

    hurricane disrupts cleanup
    Heavy seas from Hurricane Alex disrupt clean-up efforts.
  • Containment system will be installed

    Containment system will be installed
    BP begin their latest attempt to seal the leak using robots to remove a leaking well so that a replacement containment system can be installed
  • Some oil is stopped

    The flow of leaking oil is stopped by BP for the first time in 87 days, but leaks start again and additional solutions needed.
  • Storm interferes

    Tropical storm Bonnie hibders cleanup efforts.
  • Leak closed permanantly

    'Static kill' successfully stops the oil leak, though more mud may still have to be pumped into the well to close it permanently.
  • Most oil has been cleaned up

    Most oil has been cleaned up
    The US government announces that the majority of oil from the BP spill has been cleaned up
  • It is fixed!

    It is fixed!
    US Coast Guard deems the well kill operations complete and successful.
  • Technology does the job

    Technology does the job
    Scientists estimate that a total of 4.4m barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the nearly three months the well leaked. Thanks to technology and nature a large majority has already been cleaned up
  • Blocked by Obama Administration

    Blocked by Obama Administration
    White House report finds that government scientists were blocked by Obama administration from reporting the full extent of BP oil spill in the early stages
  • Cost of the Spill

    It is released that the estimated cost of the oil spill is arround $40 billion.