WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is considering manslaughter charges, along with a range of other possible violations, in its criminal probe into the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, law enforcement and other sources familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

The intensive inquiry could lead to manslaughter counts in the deaths of the 11 workers killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, the sources said. Any such charges would probably involve BP or Transocean, which leased the rig to BP, they said. A federal grand jury has been empaneled in New Orleans to hear evidence, one source said.

But the sources said no charges are imminent, and it is unclear whether they would be filed against the companies or individual managers or executives. Experts said that if manslaughter charges are filed, they are more likely to be brought against the companies than individual managers or executives.

“I’d be surprised if they don’t prosecute BP and Transocean,” said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former top Justice Department environmental crimes prosecutor. “Whether individuals can be charged is a much more difficult question.”

Spokesmen for BP and Transocean declined to comment Tuesday, as did Justice Department officials.

The possible manslaughter charges, first reported by Bloomberg News, are one line of inquiry in the wide-ranging criminal investigation into the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing, said investigators are also examining potential violations of environmental laws and whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig’s failed blowout preventer.