"As a sheen of oil moved closer to the Louisiana coast Wednesday, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised their estimates of the amount of oil that has been leaking from the oil well from 1,000 barrels a day to up to 5,000 barrels a day, or about 210,000 gallons.
BP officials also discovered a new leak in the twisted pipelines that were severed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico last week. But Doug Suttles, chief operating officer with BP Exploration and Production, said this does not change the overall amount of oil believed to be coming from the well.
Officials had previously believed that there were two leaks in the pipeline connected to the well more than a mile below the Gulf's surface. Suttles said he is certain that the new leak had just emerged Wednesday.
As winds shifted to the southeast Wednesday, forecasts showed for the first time that the outer bands of the oil slick spilling from a deep well in the Gulf of Mexico will reach the southern fringes of the Louisiana coast by late Friday.
Forecasts called for continued winds from the southeast through the weekend and also unusually high tides, meaning oil could continue to move into the fragile Mississippi River delta region for days.
On the day that officials conducted the first burn-off of oil near the rig -- an attempt to reduce the amount of oil that could come ashore -- officials with the federal response team acknowledged that the outer reaches of the spill zone are projected to hit Louisiana within two days but shied away from making predictions through the weekend."