BP Document Puts Early Spill Estimate At Up To 100K Barrels A Day

Though British Petroleum’s own CEO has made public statements like “The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into [the Gulf of Mexico] is tiny in relation to the total water volume,” and the always classic “The environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” a recently released internal document shows that BP’s initial estimates of the ongoing oil spill were outright apocalyptic.

According to a memo released by Congressman Ed Markey, BP put a top level estimate on the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf at around 100,000 barrels a day. That’s significantly higher than even the current U.S. Government guess of around 60,000 barrels/day.

A rep for BP tried to downplay the numbers in the document by saying that this was a worst-case scenario estimate, which would apply only if the blowout preventer was completely removed: “Since there are no plans to remove the blowout preventer, the number is irrelevant.”

The rep maintains that, regardless of the amount of crude being pumped into the Gulf waters, the company’s position has always been that it “would deal with whatever volume of oil was being spilled.”

Speaking of the blowout preventer, a worker on the Deepwater Horizon, the offshore oil rig whose collapse killed 11 and kicked off the worst spill in U.S. history, says that he and his employers attempted to notify BP of problems with the blowout preventer weeks before the April 20 disaster.

The blowout preventer has two control pods that work to operate the device that should have stopped the massive amount of leakage into the Gulf. But, speaking to the BBC over the weekend, the worker says that BP ignored warnings from those aboard the rig.

“We saw a leak on the pod, so by seeing the leak we informed the company men,” he recalled. “They have a control room where they could turn off that pod and turn on the other one, so that they don’t have to stop production.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of Andarko Petroleum, which was a 25% non-operating partner in the Deepwater Horizon has made it pretty clear that they tend to push off as much of the financial responsibility for the spill on BP as possible.

The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP’s reckless decisions and actions… We recognize that ultimately we have obligations under federal law related to the oil spill, but will look to BP to continue to pay all legitimate claims as they have repeatedly stated that they will do.

BP estimates of Gulf oil spill range up to 100,000 bpd [Reuters]

BP was told of oil safety fault ‘weeks before blast’ [BBC News]

Andarko Petroleum blames BP’s ‘reckless decisions’ for causing Gulf oil spill [NY Daily News]

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