WASHINGTON—The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be leaking at a rate of 25,000 barrels a day, five times the government's current estimate, industry experts say.
Basing their calculations on government data and standard industry measurement tools, the experts said the Gulf spill may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.
Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University who specializes in tracking ocean oil seeps from satellite imagery, said there may already be more than 9 million gallons of oil floating in the Gulf now, based on his estimate of a 25,000 barrel-a-day leak rate. That's compared to 12 million gallons spilled in the Valdez accident.
Experts: Oil May Be Leaking at Rate of 25,000 Barrels a Day in Gulf
Interior Department officials said it may take 90 days to cap the leaking well. If the 25,000 barrels a day is accurate and it leaks for 90 days, that's 2.25 million barrels or 94.5 million gallons.
So the 5,000 gallon daily is a low ball estimate of what is flowing into the Gulf at this point? What other news are we going to find out?
BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely
Documents Show BP Didn't Plan for Major Spill
The worst U.S. oil spill in decades reached into precious shoreline habitat along theas documents emerged showing downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the offshore rig that exploded.
BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and crude oil spill— and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals — was unlikely, or virtually impossible.for the well that an accident leading to a giant
The plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the, said repeatedly that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."
The company conceded a spill would impact beaches, wilderness areas, but argued that "due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected."and
Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs, Miss.-based environmental lawyer and board member for the Gulf Restoration Network, said he doesn't see anything in the document suggesting BP addressed the kind of technology needed to control a spill at that depth of water.
To give you an idea on just what is going on underneath the water:
Just when you thought that it could not get worse, it turns out not only could it get worse but there is a good chance it will. Ben Raines from the Hunstville Press Register has written a startling piece:
A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf.
"The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."
Asked Friday to comment on the document, NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen said that the additional leaks described were reported to the public late Wednesday night. Regarding the possibility of the spill becoming an order of magnitude larger, Smullen said, "I'm letting the document you have speak for itself."
In scientific circles, an order of magnitude means something is 10 times larger. In this case, an order of magnitude higher would mean the volume of oil coming from the well could be 10 times higher than the 5,000 barrels a day coming out now. That would mean 50,000 barrels a day, or 2.1 million gallons a day. It appears the new leaks mentioned in the Wednesday release are the leaks reported to the public late Wednesday night.
"There is no official change in the volume released but the USCG is no longer stating that the release rate is 1,000 barrels a day," continues the document, referred to as report No. 12. "Instead they are saying that they are preparing for a worst-case release and bringing all assets to bear."
The emergency document also states that the spill has grown in size so quickly that only 1 to 2 percent of it has been sprayed with dispersants.
The Press-Register obtained the emergency report from a government official. The White House, NOAA, the Coast Guard and BP Plc did not immediately return calls for comment made early this morning.
Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher
So was this unexpected like we've been lead to believe it was? Yeah, not so much if you take into account that BP has had a lot of problems reports Publica.
BP Had Other Problems in Years Leading to Gulf Spill
BP Had Problems Leading Up To Gulf Spill
Of course this couldn't have happened at a worse time for this area.
Another thing to remember in all of this...it isn't just the environment that is going to be effected by this spill, not just the wildlife and the sea animals, but also our people. There are those who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, who depend on the ability to fish, shrimp etc...to live, pay bills and to attempt to recover from past devastations. This is going to cost people everything they have. Some generational businesses will be going under...permanently. How much damage can people survive and continue to have hope? How many times can a person lose it all and still pick themselves back up?
I know that there will be more to report, and I dread it deeply because I know it is only going to get worse. The photos we will see are going to be devastating. The death toll on our wildlife will be more than we want to know about. The damage to our environment will be more destructive than we want to think about. People will lose everything and it will be heartbreaking to hear about.
We must bear witness to this. We must remind ourselves and our family, our friends, our neighbors and our country that this is unacceptable.