Gulf Oil Spill May Be Twice the Size Estimated Two Weeks Ago

"Three teams of scientists studying the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout now say the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico ranged from 20,000 barrels a day to a little more than 40,000 barrels a day before the riser pipe was cut off on June 3, U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said Thursday.

'The lowest estimate that we're seeing that scientists think is credible is about 20,000 barrels, and the highest we're seeing is probably a little over 40,000, and maybe a little bit more,' depending on how much natural gas is also being released from the well, McNutt said.

As a comparison, the new figures mean that BP's first successful attempt at containing the oil, a suction tube inserted into the riser pipe, collected at most only about one day's worth of the leaking oil over the nine-day period it was used."

Mark Schleifstein and Jaquetta White report for the New Orleans Times-Picayune June 10, 2010.

Friday, June 11, 2010