Timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (May 2010)

Last updated

Following is a Timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for May 2010.


Before May 1


May 1–5

Cofferdam containment dome under construction at Wild Well Control in Port Fourchon, Louisiana on April 26. Wild Well has built all of the containment devices used in the spill to date. Oil containment chamber Port Fourchon LA 100426-G-8744K-021.jpg
Cofferdam containment dome under construction at Wild Well Control in Port Fourchon, Louisiana on April 26. Wild Well has built all of the containment devices used in the spill to date.
"Top Hat" being deployed on May 11. Top-hat-horizon.jpg
"Top Hat" being deployed on May 11.
Q4000 in back right and the Discoverer Enterprise in the foreground on May 26 during the failed top kill procedure. The Q4000 is directly over the blowout preventer. Q4000-Discoverer-Enterprise.jpg
Q4000 in back right and the Discoverer Enterprise in the foreground on May 26 during the failed top kill procedure. The Q4000 is directly over the blowout preventer.
Lafourche Parish, Louisiana President Charlotte Randolf and President Obama inspect tarballs on Port Fourchon, Louisiana beach on May 28. Obama-tarball.jpg
Lafourche Parish, Louisiana President Charlotte Randolf and President Obama inspect tarballs on Port Fourchon, Louisiana beach on May 28.
  • Obama meets with fishermen and Coast Guard in Venice, Louisiana. Oil discovered in the South Pass. [4]
  • Transocean's Development Driller III started drilling a first relief well. High winds and rough waves rendered oil-catching booms largely ineffective. [5]
  • BP says it will pay cleanup costs. Fishing areas remain closed. [4]
  • Shares of Nalco Holding Company jump 18% in one day after it is revealed its dispersant products are being use for cleanup. [6]
  • BP proposes a containment dome. [4]
  • BP announces that the smallest of three known leaks had been capped allowing the repair group to focus their efforts on the remaining leaks. [7]

May 6–10

  • A 125-tonne (276,000 lb) container dome is lowered over the largest of the well leaks and pipe the oil to a storage vessel on the surface. [8]
  • BP begins drilling a relief well.
  • BP closing stock price 49.06 [9]
  • Breton National Wildlife Refuge closed to public. [10]
  • Secretary Alan Levine of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Peggy Hatch, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham sent a letter to BP outlining their concerns related to potential dispersant impact on Louisiana's wildlife and fisheries, environment, aquatic life, and public health. Officials requested that BP release information on their dispersant effects. [11]
  • BP reports that methane is freezing at the top of the dome making it ineffective. [4]
  • Unified Command noting low level flights above Breton National Wildlife Refuge issues press release reminding the media that low level flights above wildlife refuges is prohibited by law above all refuges. [12]
  • After failed containment dome BP announces plans to apply five feet in diameter containment vessel nicknamed "top hat". [13] BP announced strategy of trying to push mud and debris down the tube to clog it. The strategy was nicknamed "junk shot."

May 11–15

  • BP, Transocean and Halliburton officials testify before Congress blaming each other for the incident. [14]
  • MMS and Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team chaired by USCG Capt. Hung Nguyen and MMS employee David Dykes begin a Joint Marine Board of Investigation into the accident holding the first hearings at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kenner, Louisiana where they interview survivors. The investigation is to report its findings in nine months from its convening on April 27. [15]
  • BP in its regulatory filing says a blowout in its relief well could result in a release of 240,000 barrels a day.


  • BP releases first public video of leak and others say the leak is significantly higher than what BP has been saying. [17] One estimate says it could to be 20,000–100,000 barrels (840,000–4,200,000 US gallons; 3,200–15,900 cubic metres) a day. [17] [18]
  • MMS reports that after re-inspecting all deepwater oil and gas facilities on the outer Continental Shelf it had found no major violations. [19]
  • More than 70 lawsuits have been file against BP. [20]
  • BP inserted a 4-inch (100 mm) wide riser into the 21-inch-wide burst pipe. It was initially dislodged when an underwater robot collides with the pipe. The stock price of BP was $48.6/share. [9]
  • Construction of a new permanent riser to replace the temporary riser begins. The installation for the new riser is targeted for June 15. [23]
  • Coast Guard and EPA authorize use dispersants underwater, at the source of the Deepwater Horizon leak. [24]

May 16–20

  • A new tube is inserted into the pipe and some oil is pumped to surface ship. Transocean's GSF Development Driller II started drilling second relief well.
  • BP begins burning off gas with the Discoverer Enterprise . [4]
  • BP says it will release a live feed of the leak hours after receiving a request from Congressman Edward Markey. Supporting his position is Steve Wereley from Purdue University who says the leak may be 70,000 barrels (2,900,000 US gallons; 11,000,000 litres) a day. BP America President Lamar McKay defends the company's estimates noting the higher estimates are "theoretically possible...But I don't think anyone who's been working on this thinks it's that high." [25]
  • Chris Oynes, Regional Director for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf, [26] announces his early retirement from the MMS. [27]
  • BP CEO Tony Hayward stated at its respond to Ken Salazar that the environmental impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would be "very, very modest". [28]

May 21–25

  • BP begins live underwater video broadcasts of the leak. [33]
  • BP closing stock price 44.58 [9] following pressure from Congressman Ed Markey. [25]
  • Flow Rate Technical Group established to "scientifically validated information about the amount of oil flowing from BP s leaking oil well." [34] The average daily oil collection rates is 2,000 barrels (84,000 US gallons; 320,000 litres) a day. [35] [36]
  • BP rebuffs EPA order to change its dispersants. BP says that if oil reaches the shore, it would do more environmental harm than if it were dispersed off the coast. It notes that corexit is the only product that is available in sufficient quantities to deal with the spill. Further BP which has now deployed a third of the world's dispersant supply against the spill [39] said suggesting alternatives (or even detailing the chemicals that make up corexit) would expose confidential business information which it legally can keep private. [40]
  • BP says it currently has no plans to use explosives on the well. It also flatly denies it ever considered using a nuclear bomb on the well as some suggested. [41]
  • Tom Sesler an official blogger on the BP website reporting from Houma (30 miles north of the Gulf) says, "Much of the region's other businesses - particularly the hotels - have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams." [42]
  • BP official says BP would like to retrieve the 325 ton blow out equipment from the sunk Deepwater Horizon. [43] Transocean confirmed it will meet the legal obligations of a dividend that was approved at the annual general meeting on May 14, 2010 [44]
  • Transocean holds memorial at the Jackson Convention Center in Jackson, Mississippi for crew members. [45]

May 26–31

  • BP announces plan to force feed heavy drilling mud in a project called "top kill". [46]
  • Doug Brown, the chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon, testifies at the joint U.S. Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service hearing that a BP representative overruled Transocean employees and insisted on displacing protective drilling mud with seawater just hours before the explosion. [47]
  • Obama visits Louisiana again. [4]
  • In a regulatory filing, BP claims to have spent a total of $930 million. [58]
  • BP closing stock price 42.95 [9]
  • Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey named interim director. [59]
  • Obama reverses a Fall 2009 position and authorizes the International Association of Drilling Contractors to visit Cuba. Repsol YPF had a 5-year lease to begin exploratory drilling off the Cuban coast in Gulf of Mexico deepwater later in 2010. [60] The United States embargo against Cuba forbids economic ties between the countries. Newspaper articles noted that if there were an accident U.S. companies could not legally provide assistance. [61]
  • BP declared Top Kill as a failure and moved on to the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap Containment System. The operational plan first involves cutting and then removing the damaged drilling riser from the top of the failed Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) to leave a cleanly cut pipe at the top of the BOP's LMRP. The cap is designed to be connected to a riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship and placed over the LMRP with the intention of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well. During the cutting of the pipe, the diamond blade saw became stuck but was eventually freed later. BP had to use shears instead and the cut is "ragged", [62] [63] [64] [65] meaning the cap will be harder to fit. [66]
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune published an article outlining the difficulties of using relief wells noting that the wells first have to hit the original well bore that is only a foot wide and then has to make sure it can control the output once it hits the well bore so that it doesn't create a duplicate problem. The original well has already shown it has unpredictable gas bubbles. It notes the Ixtoc I oil spill which was finally stopped by the two relief well approach after nine months and 22 days. Ixtoc was in 150 feet of water and had a depth of 11,625 feet. [67]
  • BP announces plan to slice the leaking pipe, placing a cap on it and channeling the oil to surface ships. [4] Robert Reich writes a column on the Huffington Post saying the United States government should temporarily takeover BP much as it did with AIG and General Motors. He noted the government had a minimal ability to make BP do what the government wants or even report accurately on its actions. [68]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transocean</span> Offshore drilling contractor

Transocean Ltd. is an American company. It is the world's largest offshore drilling contractor based on revenue and is based in Vernier, Switzerland. The company has offices in 20 countries, including Canada, the United States, Norway, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ixtoc I oil spill</span> 1979-80 industrial disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Ixtoc 1 was an exploratory oil well being drilled by the semi-submersible drilling rig Sedco 135 in the Bay of Campeche of the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in waters 50 m (164 ft) deep. On 3 June 1979, the well suffered a blowout resulting in one of the largest oil spills in history.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> Former offshore oil drilling rig

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean and operated by BP. On 20 April 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect, a blowout caused an explosion on the rig that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles (64 km) away. The fire was inextinguishable and, two days later, on 22 April, the Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest marine oil spill in history.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill Oil spill that began in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was an industrial disaster that began on 20 April 2010 off of the coast of the United States in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8 to 31 percent larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico. The United States federal government estimated the total discharge at 4,900 Mbbl. After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on 19 September 2010. Reports in early 2012 indicated that the well site was still leaking. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is regarded as one of the largest environmental disasters in world history.

The Macondo Prospect is an oil and gas prospect in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The prospect was the site of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in April 2010 that led to a major oil spill in the region from the first exploration well, named itself MC252-1, which had been designed to investigate the existence of the prospect.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> explosion 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion was an April 20, 2010 explosion and subsequent fire on the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit, which was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles (64 km) southeast off the Louisiana coast. The explosion and subsequent fire resulted in the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the deaths of 11 workers; 17 others were injured. The same blowout that caused the explosion also caused an oil well fire and a massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in United States history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corexit</span>

Corexit is a product line of oil dispersants used during oil spill response operations. It is produced by Nalco Holding Company, an indirect subsidiary of Ecolab. Corexit was originally developed by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Corexit is typically applied by aerial spraying or spraying from ships directly onto an oil slick. On contact with the dispersant, oil that would otherwise float on the surface of the water is emulsified into tiny droplets and sinks or remains suspended in the water. In theory this allows the oil to be more rapidly degraded by bacteria (bioremediation) and prevents it from accumulating on beaches and in marshes.

Dispersit SPC 1000 or Dispersit is a dispersant used for oil spills, produced by U.S. Polychemical Corporation.

The following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. It was a result of the well blowout that began with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion on April 20, 2010.

<i>Discoverer Enterprise</i>

Discoverer Enterprise is a fifth generation deepwater double hulled dynamically positioned drillship owned and operated by Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., capable of operating in moderate environments and water depths up to 3,049 m (10,000 ft) using an 18.75 in (47.6 cm), 15,000 psi blowout preventer (BOP), and a 21 in (53 cm) outside diameter (OD) marine riser. From 1998 to 2005 the vessel was Panama-flagged and currently flies the flag of convenience of the Marshall Islands.

The civil and criminal proceedings stemming from the explosion of Deepwater Horizon and the resulting massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began shortly after the April 20, 2010 incident and have continued since then. They have included an extensive claims settlement process for a guilty plea to criminal charges by BP, and an ongoing Clean Water Act lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and other parties.

Following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for June 2010.

Following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for July 2010.

Efforts to stem the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were ongoing from the time that the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010 until the well was sealed by a cap on July 15, 2010. Various species of dolphins and other mammals, birds, and the endangered sea turtles have been killed either directly or indirectly by the oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon spill has surpassed in volume the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the largest ever to originate in U.S.-controlled waters; it is comparable to the 1979 Ixtoc I oil spill in total volume released.

Following is a timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for August 2010.

The Deepwater Horizon investigation included several investigations and commissions, among others reports by National Incident Commander Thad Allen, United States Coast Guard, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council, Government Accountability Office, National Oil Spill Commission, and Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The Health consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are health effects related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. An oil discharge continued for 84 days, resulting in the largest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, estimated at approximately 206 million gallons. The spill exposed thousands of area residents and cleanup workers to risks associated with oil fumes, particulate matter from Controlled burns, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was discovered on the afternoon of 22 April 2010 when a large oil slick began to spread at the former rig site. According to the Flow Rate Technical Group, the leak amounted to about 4.9 million barrels of oil, exceeding the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the largest ever to originate in U.S.-controlled waters and the 1979 Ixtoc I oil spill as the largest spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has challenged this calculation saying that it is overestimated as it includes over 810,000 barrels of oil which was collected before it could enter the Gulf waters.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill response Containment and cleanup efforts

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred between 10 April and 19 September 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. A variety of techniques were used to address fundamental strategies for addressing the spilled oil, which were: to contain oil on the surface, dispersal, and removal. While most of the oil drilled off Louisiana is a lighter crude, the leaking oil was of a heavier blend which contained asphalt-like substances. According to Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills, this type of oil emulsifies well. Once it becomes emulsified, it no longer evaporates as quickly as regular oil, does not rinse off as easily, cannot be broken down by microbes as easily, and does not burn as well. "That type of mixture essentially removes all the best oil clean-up weapons", Overton said.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GuLF Study</span>

The GuLF Study, or Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study, is a five-year research project examining the human-health consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. The spill followed an explosion on a drilling rig leased by BP, the British oil company, and led to the release of over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, 48 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the United States.


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