New estimate pegs BP leak at 60,000 barrels a day -

New estimate pegs BP leak at 60,000 barrels a day

New U.S. government figure is twice as large as previous estimate


The largest oil spill in history just got a lot larger. New US government estimates suggest as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day are flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. The numbers are significantly higher than the previous estimate, which was 25,000 to 30, 000 barrels a day (and dramatically higher than the original BP estimate of 5,000 barrels). BP is currently capturing around 15,000 barrels of oil a day. If the oil flow continues to spew at this rate, BP could be charged with gross negligence and fined up to $258 million per day.

New York Times

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New estimate pegs BP leak at 60,000 barrels a day

  1. Obviously the problem itself is no better or worse for these estimates, but at least there is now an honest attempt to acknowledge the full scope of the problem. That's the first step toward getting it fixed.

  2. Fools.
    This is a sad day for America. Mr. Obama has got his billions from BP, but the rest of the world, especially Africa, is certain to notice the American rage over the Louisiana offshore rig blowout mess but ignore anything similar on the planet.
    This spill, gusher, blowout, but is tiny ( I repeat, "tiny") compared to unreported continuous and daily super crude spills in the Niger Delta where the environmental and human impacts are horrendous as huge, huge tracts of land and sea are permanently poisoned and have been for years and decades — and spreading at an ever alarming rate, faster even than the global warming this disaster is helping accelerate. And there are similar spills in other parts of the underdeveloped world.
    But does America or the rest of the world care? No, not even Mr. Obama, whose father is actually an African.
    Where are the eco-freaks and public that claims to be concerned about global pollution and warming? Nowhere to be seen. Where are the escrow accounts for these poor people in foreign lands and who often don't even have drinkable water anymore?
    And it's not just the American public that is watching and wondering if the USA cares about anyone than itself. So are Europeans, Asians, and particularly South Americans where oil companies are rotting the land and seas.
    The American government's refusal to involved in global efforts develop regulations to halt man-made global warming is now being noticed like never before.

    • This is a little questionable. Why have we not heard of this before? You would think the eco freaks would have been all over this!

      • Google it.

  3. There's no winners in this, the best we can hope for is getting that well capped A.S.A.P. Even pro-oil minds have likely come realize the disaster this has become.

    • You can't seriously live in today's world and be anti-oil, it's fine to be anti-hydrocarbon fuel, but oil is the basis for most plastics and polyers that we use today. If fact, by using more plastic in cars, it reduces their fuel consumption.

      Anyone with any outlook should realise that this is a waste of natural resources, both oil and marine.

  4. C'mon, it aint rocket science to figure out how much oil is bein' spewed from that pipe!
    Referred to as a "riser", this pipe has an inside diameter of 20". Simple math reveals that a 1 yard length of this pipe holds roughly 170 litres of crude. (A barrel of petroleum contains just under 160 litres, U.S.) To determin the volume of oil being pumped into the gulf, we take this 170 litre figure, and multiply it by the "flow rate" at the well head. The flow rate is the "pressure" or "force" with which the oil is being pumped out of the earth. Imagine the simple garden hose. If we turn the spigot on very low, the water force, or "flow rate" will be very low. If we open the spigot fully, the "flow rate" increases exponentially.
    The reason we've been kept in the dark as to the size of this disaster is because the only people who know this "flow rate" are the BP engineers, and they have steadfastly refused to share that information with the U.S. government, or it's President's special disaster committee!

  5. Consider as well that research (oddly enough, partly funded by BP) conducted a decade ago in the deep waters off Norway, reveals that as little as 2% of the oil flowing from this blowout is actually reaching the surface. The vast majority of it remains, due to the extreme cold temperature of the water surrounding the riser, suspended in "plumes". These will drift with the ocean currents, and roll onto the world's beaches as "tarballs", for decades to come. Small wonder why the governments aren't overly anxious for us to know the true magnitude of this disaster!

  6. I liked it better when it was only 5000 BOPD.

    I understood that BP was moving the Deepwater Horizon rig off the hole after running temporary plugs. If so, they would have certainly run flow tests prior to running the plugs to see what kind of flow rate they got and whether the well/project met their economic hurdles. Has this question been asked of BP?

    Hopefully, now that BP has suspended its dividend, they will also suspend the issuance of any new performance shares or stock options to their Board, executive and management teams until the entire bill for the cleanup has been paid.

    • There isn't any sort of flow meter running. The most resent estimates have been based on oil density, particle motion, and the approximate amount of mixing. As they are able to capture more oil-water mixture, they can more exactly know the density and mixing for that portion of the spill, giving better understanding to the part that we don't know about.

      The water pressure at that depth is 150x what we experience at the surface (over 15 MPa or 2200 psi), so doing anything at all is difficult. A plug would have worked better than a cap, but they are improving the capture rate weekly.

      Just a couple more months and this boondoggle leak will be sealed fully.
      My biggest question is: why didn't they have an emergency well shaft pre-drilled parallel to the main production shaft?

      • At the depth they were reported to be drilling at, the water pressure would be closer to 320 atmospheres, or 4,800 psi.
        Granted, an almost moot point when contemplating the complexity of operating, remotely, at this depth.
        As to your biggest question–drilling at that depth is enornously expensive, and BP figured the blow-out preventer would suffice–they rolled the proverbial dice, and it seems WE lost.

  7. CNN, meanwhile, chose this week to run a smear campaign on the Alberta Oil Sands, uncritically re-publishing fraudulent "facts" from the 2007 enviro-loon documentary Toxic Alberta. Apparently the oilsands are destroying the "lungs of Canada", i.e. the boreal forest. Someone forgot to tell CNN that the oilsand development currently covers only 530 square km.

  8. I wonder how those relief wells are coming along…

    • The relief wells are supposed to be drilled before an accident happens, but BP is well known throughout the industry for cutting corners.

      • Are you sure?

        I don't have any explicit knowledge that says that that is incorrect, but it just strikes me as such a flagrant violation, akin to building an entire pipeline or refinery without an approval, that I'm having trouble understanding how work on the main well could have proceeded at all.

        Any details that you could provide would be appreciated.