New Estimates Double Rate of Oil That Flowed Into Gulf
By JUSTIN GILLIS and LIZ ROBBINS
June 10, 2010
A government panel on Thursday doubled its estimate of the amount of oil that had gushed for weeks from the out-of-control BP well even before the latest attempt to cap it.
The new calculation suggested that an amount of oil equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster could have been flowing into the Gulf of Mexico every 8 to 10 days.
This assessment, based on measurements taken before BP cut the riser pipe of the leaking well on June 3 to cap some of the flow, showed that approximately 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil could have been gushing into the Gulf each day. That is far above the previous estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.
Scientists say the flow rate could actually be greater now because they believe that cutting the riser to position the cap pipe may have only increased the flow of the oil and gas mixture. The same governmental panel said that it would be another few days until it would be able to estimate the current flow rate.
The assessment was conducted by the Flow Rate Technical Group, which was created federal government to accurately gauge the oil being released into the Gulf after questions were raised about BP’s own estimates.