Hat Tip to the Destructionist who actually figured this one out and posted it two days ago –
National Public Radio reported late Thursday that scientific analysis of a video of the spill, released Wednesday by British Petroleum, put the estimate closer to 70,000 barrels a day. It says those findings suggest the spill is already much larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska.
Rough calculations using satellite imagery suggested the leak could “easily be four or five times” the U.S. government estimate, Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University who is an expert in the analysis of oil slicks, told the New York Times.
The 5,000 barrels a day figure was produced quickly by government scientists in Seattle, the Times reports. It appears to have been determined using a method not specifically recommended for major oil spills…
Independent scientists estimate the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Meanwhile, BP Execs continued to downplay the size of the spill, dis-inviting scientists from Woods Hole Laboratory to come and get accurate measurements –
Don’t worry about that pesky oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP CEO Tony Hayward says: It’s “relatively tiny” compared to the “very big ocean.”
Hayward launched this novel defense of the worst spill in U.S. history during an interview with the Guardian that deserves a full read, especially with BP fighting the Obama administration’s push to make the company pay the full tab for cleanup costs. The BP chief executive acknowledged for the first time that he expects his future with the company to be “judged by the nature of the response” to the current crisis; this may help explain his stream of delaying tactics and excuses.
“We will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when,” Hayward told the Guardian. “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
Before calling the oil spill analogous to the Apollo 13 flight and comparing it favorably with a deadly 2005 BP rig explosion in Texas, Hayward said BP is “increasingly confident” that they’ll find a way to stop the oil flow, and that the company has already prevented significant amounts of oil from reaching the shore.
BP’s CEO isn’t alone in downplaying the effects of the spill. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) told the Associated Press his state is ready for tourism dollars — just don’t get too close to the water while waterskiing.
“We don’t wash our face in it, but it doesn’t stop us from jumping off the boat to ski,” Barbour said.