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Environment

Factbox: The Gulf BP spill: How much oil is it, anyway?

LONDON/VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters) - U.S. government scientists this week estimated that BP Plc’s blown-out Gulf of Mexico well is gushing up to 40,000 barrels (1.7 million gallons/ 6.4 million liters) per day into the ocean.

How much oil has spewed so far? On Day 53 of the worst U.S. oil spill in U.S. history, it’s equivalent to:

* Just over 2.5 hours worth of U.S. oil consumption. The United States is the world’s biggest oil user, and burns about 20 million barrels a day, or 833,000 barrels an hour. Every 21 days, the BP well spews one hour’s worth of U.S. consumption.

* Eight times as much oil as the amount spilled when the Exxon Valdez tanker plowed into a reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989, spilling 257,000 barrels. BP’s well spews the equivalent to one Exxon Valdez tanker every 6.4 days.

* About 135 Olympic-sized swimming pools. An Olympic pool holds 15,725 barrels of oil, versus the 2.12 million barrels of oil the well has spewed.

* About 360 million quarts, if the oil was packaged in plastic cans sold at gas stations.

Reporting by Chris Baltimore and Eileen O’Grady; Editing by Paul Simao

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