TIMELINE-Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:57pm IST

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Nov 15 (Reuters) - Here is a look at BP since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, as the company faces paying a record U.S. criminal penalty under a plea bargain deal, sources say:

April 20, 2010 - Explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig kills 11 workers. The rig is owned by Transocean Ltd and licensed to BP. Ten days later BP CEO Tony Hayward says the company takes full responsibility and will pay legitimate claims and the cost of the cleanup.

June 22 - Hayward hands day-to-day control of spill operations to Managing Director Bob Dudley, having been criticised for his handling of the crisis including commenting that he would like his life back. BP later names Dudley as its next CEO.

Sept. 19 - BP permanently seals the leaking well.

Jan. 5, 2011 - White House oil spill commission says in a report BP and its partners made a series of cost-cutting decisions that ultimately contributed to the accident.

April 20 - BP sues Transocean seeking at least $40 billion in damages and other costs. BP also sues Cameron International Corp for negligence, saying a blowout preventer made by Cameron failed to avert the catastrophe. Transocean blames BP in its report on the spill in June.

Sept. 14 - U.S. federal investigators from the Coast Guard and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management say BP is solely to blame for 21 of 35 contributing causes to the Macondo well blow-out that led to the leak, and shares blame for eight more.

May 2, 2012 - BP wins preliminary court approval of an estimated $7.8 billion settlement to resolve more than 100,000 claims by individuals and businesses stemming from the spill. The accord comprises two agreements, including one that covers economic and property claims and one covering medical claims.

July 6 - President Barack Obama signs the Restore Act which directs that 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties paid by BP be placed in a new trust fund for restoration efforts in the five coastal states damaged by the spill: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Texas.

Oct 26 - A federal judge delays until February 2013 the start of the trial to determine liability from the spill. The trial has been delayed by nearly a year already due to the pending $7.8 billion settlement with private plaintiffs.

Nov. 15 - BP confirms it is in "advanced discussions" with the U.S. Justice Department and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) over BP pleading guilty to criminal misconduct in exchange for a waiver of future prosecution on the charges.

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