New Video Suggests Gulf Spill Far Worse Than Thought

by Bradford Plumer | May 14, 2010

Yesterday, NPR's Richard Harris had an important Gulf scoop—the oil spill may be much, much larger than both BP and the U.S. government have been saying. Here's Brad Johnson's follow-up:

Based on “sophisticated scientific analysis of seafloor video made available Wednesday,” Steve Wereley, an associate professor at Purdue University, told NPR the actual spill rate of the BP oil disaster is about 3 million gallons a day — 15 times the official guess of BP and the federal government. Another scientific expert, Eugene Chiang, a professor of astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, calculated the rate of flow to be between 840,000 and four million gallons a day. These estimates mean that the Deepwater Horizon wreckage could have spilled about five times as much oil as the 12-million-gallon Exxon Valdez disaster….
In an email to ThinkProgress, Dr. Wereley clarifies: “My analysis is based strictly on what is seen in the video, so only one pipe and only for that brief period of time. I’m making no claims about what happened earlier or what may happen in the future.”

And here's the video:

It's worth noting that BP waited weeks before releasing this tiny snippet (which, not surprisingly, turned out to provide a lot of valuable information about how much oil is actually coming out). Meanwhile, Joe Romm highlights some amazing recent comments from BP CEO Tony Hayward:

In an bullish interview with the Guardian at BP’s crisis centre in Houston, Hayward insisted that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant that BP has pumped into the sea to try to tackle the slick should be put in context.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume,” he said.

Right. Nothing wrong with a little bacteria in your drinking water, either—they're so little!

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-vine/74973/new-video-suggests-gulf-spill-far-worse-thought