BP Oil Spill Could Gush For 2-4 Years !!! Unless Stopped

bp cover the earth image
Want to know how long the BP oil spill could continue gushing if it's not stopped? A new piece in The Guardian gives us a terrifying glimpse: Based on testimony by BP's Tony Hayward in Congress earlier in the week as to the estimated amount of oil the Deepwater Horizon was going after, and using the new official flow rate of 60,000 barrels a day, there's enough oil to flow for two to four years.

The Guardian quotes University of Alabama petroleum geologist Philip Johnson: "It if went uncontrolled it could certainly leak for two years and certainly longer than that. [...] But he said the leak rate would fall sharply over time once the natural gas in the reservoir is exhausted. "That is the driving force," he said. "As soon as that is gone, it won't leak at any serious rate."Hayward's Figure May Be Too Low By Ten
That's assuming that the 50 million barrel figured that Hayward cited is accurate. Another academic specializing in the oil industry is dubious that Hayward's stat is true:

"I would assume that 500m barrels would be a more likely estimate," said Tadeusz Patzek, the chairman of the department of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. "I don't think you would be going after a 50m barrel reservoir so quickly. This is simply not enough oil to go after."

Normally I'd try to offer some additionally commentary, but just let that sink in. Two to four years at 50 million barrels at the damage is truly enormous; that from 500 million barrels is entirely incomprehensible.

Is this what we've come to? Is even a thousandth of a percent chance of this sort of thing happening again work the risk? No, no, and no again!

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image: Bo Hughins via flickr

More on the BP Oil Spill:
Official Gulf Spill Estimate Doubled: There's Been an Exxon Valdez-Sized Spill Every 8 Days
BP Could Go Bankrupt Over Gulf Spill
Breaking Down the BP Gulf Spill Blame Game

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