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US govt ups estimate for BP well flow

HOUSTON, June 10 (Reuters) - U.S. scientists estimated on Thursday that BP Plc's BP.LBP.N Gulf of Mexico oil leak could have flowed at a rate of up to 40,000 barrels per day before BP completed a pipe-cutting procedure on June 3.

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

The flow of crude from the ruptured well could have been as low as 20,000 barrels (840,000 gallons/3.18 million liters) per day and as high as 40,000 bpd, with an average flow rate of 25,000-30,000 bpd, according to the findings announced by U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt. (Reporting by Chris Baltimore and Kristen Hays)

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