Louisiana (US), June 11 (ANI): Scientists have warned that the flow rate of the oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico could actually be greater due to the cutting of the riser to position the cap pipe.
The New York Times has quoted these scientists, who are part of a governmental panel, as saying that it would be another few days to estimate the current flow rate.So far, the panel has 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 eight to ten 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.
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.
What is certainis that these new numbers will ratchet up the already intense political pressure on BP, which some politicians and scientists have accused of obstructing efforts to calculate a true rate of flow from the well.
From the beginning of the disaster, BP has provided estimates that were vastly lower than reality.
Dr. Marcia McNutt, the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Chair of the Flow Rate Technical Group, said the panel's estimates reflected work by several study groups, one in particular using video analysis and the other using sonar equipment.
The best overlap among the assessments put the range of oil spilling from the well at 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day, she said, making it the new official estimate..
However, Dr. McNutt added that the range of estimates the technical panel considered plausible was wider, more like 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day.
"This is obviously a challenging scientific issue, since the leak is located a mile below the ocean," Dr. McNutt said
The new estimates released on Thursday came as BP told the Coast Guard that it would expedite payments to businesses crippled by the oil spill. (ANI)