Document shows BP estimates spill up to 100,000 bpd

WASHINGTON Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:31pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An internal BP Plc document released on Sunday by a senior U.S. congressional Democrat shows that the company estimates that a worst-case scenario rate for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be about 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

The estimate of 100,000 barrels (4.2 million gallons/15.9 million liters) of oil per day is far higher than the current U.S. government estimate of up to 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons/9.5 million liters) per day gushing from the ruptured offshore well into the sea.

The document, which is undated, was released by U.S. Representative Ed Markey, chairman of the energy and environment subcommittee of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

The amount of oil actually gushing from the well has been a matter of considerable controversy since the spill began on April 20, with critics saying BP has understated the flow rate.

BP spokesman Toby Odone said the document appeared to be genuine but the estimate applied only to a situation in which a key piece of equipment called a blowout preventer is removed.

"Since there are no plans to remove the blowout preventer, the number is irrelevant," BP spokesman Toby Odone said.

The document appears to estimate the highest potential flow of oil if key components of the well fail. The document does not indicate that the 100,000 barrels per day is BP's estimate of the actual amount flowing from the ruptured Gulf of Mexico well.

The document states, "If BOP (blowout preventer) and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions -- the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)"

"This document raises very troubling questions about what BP knew and when they knew it," Markey said in a statement.

"It is clear that, from the beginning, BP has not been straightforward with the government or the American people about the true size of this spill. Now the families living and working in the Gulf are suffering from their incompetence," he added.

BP initially estimated that the spill was pouring 1,000 barrels per day into the ocean and then upped that figure to 5,000 barrels per day.

"Right from the beginning, BP was either lying or grossly incompetent," Markey told NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "First they said it was only 1,000 barrels, then they said it was 5,000 barrels."

Odone said, "I don't think there's been any underestimating. We've always said we would deal with whatever volume of oil was being spilled and that's exactly what we're doing."

The document was posted on the Internet here

(Writing by Will Dunham, additional reporting by Bruce Nichols in Houston and Thomas Ferraro in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (4)
dinatamar wrote:
I would like to see this published as it is very important for a select group of individuals who understand the value of prayer in a crisis. When King David dug down too deeply many years ago he encountered a tremendous gush of water from the depths which threatened to inundate all around. He prayed the Shir Hamaaloth which stopped the threat. We are to pray the fifteen psalms of King David starting with number 120 through and including psalm 134 with heartfelt sincerity,even with tears pleading for our Creator to breach this man-made rupture. I havce already started. May our G-d in heaven hear and heed our prayers. Amen and G-d bless you all.

Jun 20, 2010 3:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BOBBY99 wrote:
The expertise and capability of BP to correct the problem indicate that they could have done the proper job in the first place. But did not.
Corporations do not self-regulate, rather, they do public relations and politics expertly.
Now, not only has the environment been ruined, the economy of two hundred years on the coast been stolen, animal life from bacteria to whales murdered, but BP can’t sell escaped oil: even their greed has been wasted in their attempt to corrupt.
With the engineering ability of the company, they could still have avoided this criminal wast, but had decided to save pennies because bush league politicians let them be more corrupt than even lobbyists and bought public servants.
As bad as the idea of regulation and EPA standards are, we are better today than if this BP example had been the norm since Nixon.
We might learn, maybe.

Jun 21, 2010 1:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
vergentbill wrote:
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. How could anyone look at the uncapped well and “estimate” less than 2 barrels per second?

an oil barrel 21 inches in diameter would be 28 inches tall.

56 inches per second is 3.18 MPH.

Fluid flow is faster in the middle(that you can’t see), than it is at the surface(that you can see).

Anyone estimating less than 172,800 barrels per day after the pipe was cut is deliberately lying to us.

BP’s motive for lying is clear. But what is the motive for the government “experts”?

The only thing I can come up with is that they are being bribed. The fine is $4,300 per barrel. A billion dollar bribe for halving the fine would be a bargain.

BP; send me $1,000,000,000 and I will stop posting.

Jun 21, 2010 1:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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