So now it’s official. As many feared, the Gulf Oil oil spill is the worst the US has ever suffered. No wonder BP has been trying to keep the officialdom and scientists away from it as long as possible…..
From the Washington Post (hat tip reader Marshall):
As crews pumped mud at a furious rate into the damaged blowout preventer that sits on the uncapped well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, a group of scientists said the amount of oil spewing into the ocean is much greater than originally believed….
U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt said at a news conference Thursday that two teams of scientists, using different methods, have preliminarily determined that between 17 and 27 million gallons of oil have gushed into the ocean so far.
Yves here. That puts the daily flow at 12,000 to 19,000 barrels, versus the 5,000 party line from BP. Note that the Exxon Valdez total was roughly 11 million gallons.
The good news is at least so far, the top kill appears to be working.
More commentary from Bloomberg:
“Now we know what we always knew — this spill is much larger than BP has claimed,” Congressman Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said today in a statement. “What’s clear is that BP has had an interest in low-balling the size of their accident, since every barrel spilled increases how much they could be fined by the government.”
Oh, but BP now denies ever having made an estimate:
“We haven’t made any estimates of the flowrate from the well,” said David Nicholas, a BP spokesman in Houston. “What we’ve always said is that no matter what the estimates would be, our approach to this incident would be exactly the same. We’re trying to stop the flow of the well.”