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BP well may have spilled 40,000 bpd: U.S. scientists

06-11-2010 10:49 BJT

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. scientists studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill estimate the BP well could have been spewing as much as 40,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf.

A slick of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil floats near a boat off Grand Isle, Louisiana June 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
A slick of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil floats near a boat off Grand Isle, 
Louisiana June 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

"The lowest estimate that we're seeing that the scientists think is credible is probably about 20,000 barrels, and the highest that we're seeing is probably a little over 40,000," Marcia McNutt, director of the US Geological Survey and chair of a US-government-led flow rate assessment team, told reporters.

The new estimates are higher than the prior "best estimate" of 12,000-19,000 bpd issued on May 27 by the Flow Rate Technical Group.

"Our scientific analysis is still a work in progress. In coming days we'll be refining our estimates further," McNutt said.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean and leased by BP, sank April 22 some 52 km off Venice, Louisiana, after burning for roughly 36 hours. The untapped wellhead continues gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The White House has called the spill the biggest environmental disaster that the country has ever faced. Determining how much oil escaped the well is key to establishing liability in the spill.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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