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WASHINGTON — Scientists are altering their estimates of how much oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico a day after new live video of the leak was posted online.
Tim Crone of Columbia University says he was saddened because he hoped the video would show his estimate of 840,000 to 4.2 million gallons a day was wrong, but it didn't.
He upped the lower bounds of his estimates to
[at least] 1.68 million gallons [per day] and is sticking with his upper estimate for the main leak from the well that blew out after a rig explosion.
Purdue University professor Steve Wereley says he'll likely cut his 3.9 million gallons a day estimate after BP said half of what's coming out of the pipe is gas, not oil.
BP PLC and the Coast Guard have estimated 210,000 gallons a day, but a government team is revising that.
How much oil is leaking?
The real answer is - more than anyone wants to admit, because the well holds enough oil to make Saudi Arabian drillers jealous.
The oil field the Deepwater Horizon had tapped is
said to be the second largest deposit in the world. Viewzone.com reports, “The site covers an estimated 25,000 square miles, extending from the inlands of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. “
The oil deposit is so large, it could produce 500,000 barrels of a day for more than a decade.
Part of the reason the well exploded is because the site also contains large deposits of natural gas.
Speculation as to
why BP has tried to hide the amount of oil spilling may be two-fold. There are legal issues and lawsuits in the works. The less said by BP now, the better it may play out for them in the future. The other, more alarming aspect, is the event of total wellhead failure before relief wells are completed in August.
Considering the size of the deposit, if BP loses control of the flow completely,
the scope of the disaster would be unfathomable.