70,000 Barrels or 5,000? What Did BP Know and When Did They Know It?

bp oil spill leak photo

Image: Screen grab from BP video.
This Isn't a Rounding Error...
Is BP being honest with us about what they know and how bad things are out there in the Gulf of Mexico? That's a good question. Soon after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sunk, it was estimated that about 1,000 barrels of oil were leaking daily. Then that estimate was raised to 5,000 barrels. Then SkyTruth.org, using satellite and radar date, made an estimate of 25,000 barrels/day, and now the latest reports are that there could be more than 70,0000 barrels leaking each day. But if BP had cameras down there almost from the start, why didn't they know this? Or did they?
nasa oil spill may 4th photo

Photo: NASA, public domain.
BP Oil Spill Keeps Getting Worse
I think that's a valid question. Maybe BP couldn't make a good estimate of the oil flow-rate, but isn't it strange that a couple days after they release videos of the leaks we suddenly get a new, very different, independent estimate? Why couldn't BP's experts come to similar conclusions? And if they did, why did they keep it a secret? And it's not a 10% increase, but an order of magnitude more.

First priority is to stop the leaks, but I think that after that's done, BP should have to answer some tough questions, and maybe some new laws about information disclosure should be looked into. It makes a big difference to the general public and for the engineers trying to stop the leaks and the people working on cleanup to know the magnitude of the spill. Resources need to be allocated differently, and the people trying to come up with technical fixes will consider different things for a 5k barrels/day leak than for a 70k barrels/day one.

So let's ask BP. Maybe this new estimate will turn out not to have been correct and maybe BP was straight with us all this time, but if not...

See also: BP is Trying to Intubate the Biggest Oil Leak, But Will It Succeed?
More on the BP Oil Spill
First Underwater Images of the Gulf Oil Leak (What BP Won't Show You) [Updated]
What are BP's Options to Stop the Oil Leaks? What are the Chances of Success?
The BP Oil Spill as Seen by Astronauts on the ISS

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