The amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico from the blown-out Deepwater Horizon well may be 40,000 barrels, well above the official government estimate of 12,000 and 19,000 barrels a day, according to an official with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said that based on new analysis, the “best estimate for the average flow rate for the leakage… is between 25,000 to 30,000 barrels per day.” She notes that the rate could “be as low as 20,000 barrels per day or as high as 40,000 barrels per day.”
Meanwhile Ira Leifer, a marine scientist at the University of California and a member of the Flow Rate Technical Group, told Democracy Now radio that the rate could be 100,000 barrels per day.
Still photo of live feed of Gulf oil spill in cooperation with BP. Photo courtesy of the US government.
The flow rate is believed to have increased when BP severed the well’s damaged riser pipe in order to install a containment cap that is currently collecting about 15,000 barrels of oil per day.
BP originally estimated the leak at 1,000 barrels per day.
The spill is believed to be the worst ocean-based oil spill in the history of the United States.