US dramatically raises estimates of oil leaking into Gulf
Up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day could be leaking out of a ruptured well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to another major revision of estimates Tuesday by US government scientists, dpa reported.
Scientists led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil per day were flowing from the leaking riser pipe, up from an earlier estimate of 20,000-40,000 barrels.
The oil slick has been growing largely unabated since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and is already the biggest in US history, causing increasing damage to the coastlines of four southern states.
Despite growing anger over its inability to stop the leak, oil giant BP has only managed to capture about 15,000 barrels of oil a day through a containment cap placed over the wellhead earlier this month.
The British firm believes it can raise the capture rate to 53,000 barrels by the end of the month and could handle a flow of 60,000- 80,000 barrels per day by mid-July.