More experts agree–Oil leak much larger than 5,000 barrels a day
NPR is reporting that the oil spill could be much worse than believed, with up to 70,000 barrels of oil per day leaking into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.
Having an accurate estimate of the spill is important so that coastal residents and government officials can properly plan and address the disaster and make adequate contingency plans should further complications arise, such as a tropical storm.
BP originally estimated that the size of the spill was 1,000 barrels a day. They later revised the estimate to 5,000 barrels a day, which is the number currently being widely reported by the main stream media.
Shortly thereafter the WSJ and Skytruth reported that Dr. Ian MacDonald from Florida State University estimated the size to be 25,000 barrels a day, based on calculations derived from aerial imagery of the size of the spill. Following that report BP officials stated that there was no reliable way to estimate the size of the spill and maintained the 5,000 barrel a day estimate.
Last week I did some napkin math and openly suggested that the 5,000 barrel day estimate might be low. BP’s own press releases state that skimmers have recovered 97,000 barrels of an oily liquid, 350,000+ of dispersants have been used, and 530 boats are operating in the recovery effort. Given the forgiving weather we experienced last week, common sense tells us that these recovery efforts would have made more progress addressing a 5,000 barrel a day oil leak.
My napkin math post was removed after I learned that two of my ratios were off based on current reports, and needed to be recalucated. But the premise remains that same: Common sense is tells us that oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at a higher rate than they are able to recover.
Based on all but the the official 5,000 barrel per day estimate, this oil spill already exceeds the Exxon Valdez spill.