NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP's massive oil spill is ready to become the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
It's an ominous record that underscores the oil giant's dire need to halt the gusher.
Based on the highest of the federal government's estimates, the oil that's gushed for two and a half months from a blown-out well a mile (two kilometers) under the sea is expected to surpass the 140 million gallon (530 million liter) mark on Thursday.
That eclipses the Ixtoc I spill off Mexico's coast in 1979 to 1980. Even by the lower end of the government's estimates, at least 71.2 million gallons (270 million liters) are in the Gulf.
That calculation is based on the higher end of the government's range of barrels leaked per day, minus the amount BP says it has collected from the blown-out well using two containment systems.