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Backgrounder: A chronology of Gulf of Mexico oil spill

07-16-2010 14:06 BJT

HOUSTON, July 16 (Xinhua) -- British oil giant BP said Thursday that the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped leaking oil after the company placed a new cap over the leak.

It was the first time that the BP completely contained the months-long spill. The following are the key developments of the incident.

On April 20: Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean and leased by BP, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers.

On May 16: BP engineers on Sunday inserted a tube into a leaking pipe and began siphoning some of the oil to a drilling rig at the surface.

On May 17: BP announced an award of 70 million U.S. dollars to four U.S. Gulf Coast states to promote tourism in the aftermath of the massive oil spill.

On May 18: The United States closed off a large chunk of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing as fears a giant oil slick could be swept to Florida's beaches and coral reefs overshadowed progress in stemming the spill.

On May 20: The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama demanded BP put more data online, and told it to look for less toxic dispersants while dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On May 26: BP started a so-called "top kill" operation in an attempt to plug an undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

On May 27: Obama announced a widespread suspension of new oil drilling and exploration in an effort to improve oversight of oil and gas industry.

On June 3: The Obama administration sent a 69-million-U.S.-dollar bill to BP for taxpayer costs so far in fighting the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

On June 4: A newly attached cap began siphoning some of the oil spewing from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico but petroleum was still leaking into the sea.

On June 4: International ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) cut BP's long-term credit rating from AA to AA-.

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