Photo via Reuters
And once again, things get worse and worse in the ongoing catastrophic saga that is the BP Gulf oil spill. Shortly after Obama took to the oval office to give a speech to reassure the nation about the spill, officials released the newest estimates of how much oil was leaking from the Deepwater Horizon site. They weren't pretty: It's now believed that as much as 60,000 barrels -- 2.5 million gallons -- of oil is spilling from the source every day.As of last week's report, which estimated that some 25,000 barrels of oil were leaking a day, the BP disaster was essentially the equivalent of having an entire Exxon Valdez-sized spill every 8 days. The new estimate now reveals a truer description is that there's been an Exxon Valdez event every 4 days. According to the New York Times, this latest estimate comes after scientists lead by Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, who was personally involved in making these calculations, analyzed pressure readings and new high resolution made available after make a cut in the riser.
That riser cut, executed by BP to help it capture some of the oil, is believed to have increased the flow of oil. But some of that is being captured -- BP says it's capturing 15,000 barrels of oil a day. Which means, of course, that some 45,000 barrels are still spewing into the ocean. Once again, it needs to be noted that BP initially claimed there was only 5,000 barrels of oil leaking a day, and the federal government backed up those figures -- and then both proceeded to cling to them for over a month.
That fact highlights the many questions already raised about how much transparency there's been on such matters.
As for the spill itself, efforts to plug the damn hole have continued to fail -- in the latest act-of-God-esque setback, a derrick leading the containment operation was actually struck by lightening. Hope continues to lie on the relief well BP continues to drill, as the best chance of finally stopping the gushing crude. Until then, 2.5 million gallons of oil a day will surge into the Gulf of Mexico.