Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Homosexuality in Africa: Kenyan movie debuts at Toronto Film Festival

Read more

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Indpendence Referendum Too Close to Call

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Inger Andersen, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Scottish referendum: Should I stay or should I go?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Paris conference: A coalition against the Islamic State group

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Spies, doppelgangers and gay rights activists

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Salmond's 'emotional eve-of poll plea to Scots to seize their historic opportunity'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Nick Witney, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

Read more

Americas

BP spill eclipses 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-27

A new report by a panel of US government experts suggests the amount of oil spilled by BP's leaking Gulf of Mexico well has already dwarfed the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.

REUTERS - The amount of oil spilled by BP Plc’s blown-out Gulf of Mexico well has eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, and could be flowing at a rate nearly four times BP’s recent estimates, according to findings of a U.S.  government expert panel released on Thursday.

On May 17, there were at least 130,000 barrels of oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and a similar amount had been skimmed off the surface or evaporated, according to a panel of government scientists known as the Flow Rate Technical Group.

The findings, made public by U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt, confirm that more oil has been spilled from BP’s leaking well than the estimated 257,000 barrels that fouled Alaska’s Prince William Sound by the grounding of the Exxon Valdez tanker.

If the panel’s calculations are accurate, a total of at least 260,000 barrels of oil had spilled into the ocean by May 17.

The high-end estimate of oil on the water that day was 270,000 barrels, with a similar amount contained or evaporated, the panel found.

McNutt declined to confirm that the BP spill has eclipsed the Exxon Valdez, but she did not dispute it.

'This is obviously a very, very significant environmental disaster and I think with the numbers I’ve given you, you can do the math,' McNutt said.

The team’s best estimate for the amount of oil pouring from the well is 12,000-19,000 barrels per day, though one of three measurement methods the team used returned a high-end rate of 25,000 barrels per day, McNutt said.

Assuming the well has flowed 12,000 barrels (504,000 gallons/1.9 million litres) a day since April 20 -- the day the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded—the total amount of oil released by the well is 444,000 barrels (18.65 million gallons/70.59 million litres), nearly twice the amount from Exxon Valdez.

A BP spokesman declined to comment on the government’s estimate.

The government’s lowest estimate is over twice the estimate repeatedly cited by BP officials of about 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres), though company officials have said the estimate is unreliable.
 

Date created : 2010-05-27

  • GULF OF MEXICO

    Oil 'stops leaking' from damaged BP well

    Read more

  • GULF OF MEXICO

    Chemical dispersant adds to 'toxic soup', says Cousteau Jr.

    Read more

COMMENT(S)