Posted by: shannynmoore | May 2, 2010

1 MILLION GALLONS OF OIL PER DAY; WSJ: Estimated 9 Million Gallons Floating in the Gulf Now

From Joe Romm, Center for American Progress at ClimateProgress:

Oilpocalypse Now: WSJ reports BP oil disaster may be leaking at rate of 1 million gallons a day

Spill may exceed Exxon Valdez within days — not weeks

from Huffington Post

May 1, 2010

Climate Progress will be following the BP oil disaster story closely for several reasons:

  1. It will be the biggest energy and environmental news story for the foreseeable future.  Eleven people are already dead and if yesterday’s Wall Street Journal story, “Experts: Oil May Be Leaking at Rate of 25,000 Barrels a Day in Gulf” (subs. req’d, excerpted below) is accurate, then the scope of the environmental disaster is far beyond anything we’ve imagined.
  2. How the story plays out will probably determine more than anything else whether there is comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year.
  3. I have been writing, researching, and speaking about oil for two decades now. My first two books discussed the oil security issue extensively, including the one I wrote for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1993, Defining National Security: the Nonmilitary Aspects. My first Congressional testimony representing the Department of Energy in 1996 was on an analysis that I did on the threat posed by growing US oil dependence (hard to read HTML here, massive PDF here). I have been following the oil and the drilling debate closely here on CP.  As I discussed in a March post, here’s what we’re going to get for all that new drilling people want to do:  EIA: New offshore drilling will lower gas prices in 2030 a few pennies a gallon.
  4. I’m already getting bombarded with emails from experts with angles and analyses on the disaster that I haven’t seen discussed in the media yet.

Did I mention it’s time to get off the dirty, unsafe energy sources of the 19th century that can’t sustain the human race and that’s it’s time to redouble our efforts to embrace the clean, safe energy sources of the 21st century that never run out?

Here is my segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann from Thursday night, when we had just learned that BP’s confident statements the leak was small and they could handle it were dead wrong:

When I went on, we had just learned that the spill rate was 5 times the 1,000-barrels-a-day rate BP had been insisting on.   Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson reported Friday morning that the rate could be 20,000 barrels a day, according to John Amos, the president and founder of the nonprofit firm SkyTruth, “which specializes in gathering and analyzing satellite and aerial data to promote environmental conservation.”

Now the WSJ piece reports it could be even worse than that:

Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University who specializes in tracking ocean oil seeps from satellite imagery, said

from Huffington Post

 there may already be more than 9 million gallons of oil floating in the Gulf now, based on his estimate of a 25,000 barrel-a-day leak rate. That’s compared to 12 million gallons spilled in the Valdez accident.

Interior Department officials said it may take 90 days to cap the leaking well. If the 25,000 barrels a day is accurate and it leaks for 90 days, that’s 2.25 million barrels or 94.5 million gallons.

Mr. MacDonald and his colleagues at the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Department have worked jointly with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the past on oil spill tracking, and have shared their estimates with NOAA scientists. He said the NOAA scientists didn’t dispute the calculations.

A NOAA spokeswoman said the government estimate of 5,000 barrels a day leaking from the BP PLC deep sea well was based on collaborative assessments produced by BP, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard….

John Amos, a geologist who has worked as a consultant with companies such as BP, ExxonMobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC on tracking and measuring oil spills from satellite data, said NOAA raised its estimates to 5,000 barrels a day after he and his colleagues published calculations that showed the original figures were far too low based on the NOAA data. Amos has also previously participated in a joint industry-NASA study using satellite imagines to detect and track oil slicks.

Mr. Amos said the 5,000 barrels a day is the “extremely low end” of their estimates. He said, based on NOAA maps, a more realistic figure is 20,000 barrels a day.

John Curry, a spokesman for BP working from their Gulf coast central command operations, said the 5,000 barrel a day was a “guestimate.” “There’s a range of uncertainty, and it’s very difficult to accurately gauge how much there is,” he said.

“Guestimate” is a euphemism for BP’s whole effort — from buying a rig without the latest backup shut off switch (one that even Brazil requires) to opposing Interior Department efforts to strengthen the voluntary, “trust me,” self regulation the industry got under Bush-Cheney to their rosy worst-case scenario that they sold to the Obama Administration to their post-disaster claims that they could handle a spill.

Stay tuned, there’s a lot more going to come out on the role of BP — and Halliburton — in this oilpocalypse.

Stay tuned…indeed-SM



  1. As I read local news of the Gulf Coast, the very news that just two weeks ago quoted many at a tea bagger rally as wanting no Government at all essentially, no taxes, and Government out of their lives, are now begging for Governments help.
    The first responders to the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the U.S. Coast Guard. They were neither responsible for or required by law as British Petroleum was to contain the oil coming from BPs oil rig. Yet their those brave men and women were, putting their lives in danger and fighting a terrific fire, evacuating employees, and searching for 11 missing men.
    Now some of those same people I mentioned above, who want Government out of their lives completely are trying to blame Government for this horrific accident.
    The G.W. Bush administration and the Republican controlled House and Senate deregulated the oil industry in the Gulf region. This and the fact that BP submitted a report that said a catastrophic oil spill of the very oil platform that exploded most likely would never ever have a catastrophic failure causing an oil spill. And you have what well may become the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
    My point is we need more government not less. We need more stringent regulations not less. The very purpose of government is to protect its citizens form danger both foreign and domestic, Yet as all Alaskans effected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill know well, part of the Government that is there for that protection failed them miserably by choosing to protect a corporation rather than the citizens of Alaska effected forever by that spill.
    My real fear is that yet another fertile fishing grounds will be lost to never recover in our life times due to the failures of Government regulations on the oil industry.
    This should be a lesson to all that the worlds largest open pit mine and oil rigs built in regions of fertile and millenniums old spawning grounds for fish and wildlife should either not be there at all, or regulated to the point where developing them would not be economically feasible!
    Wake up Alaskans and say NO to the Pebble Mine and fight for more stringent regulations of our oil industry!

  2. Thank You Sarah Thank You!

  3. Spill, baby, spill.

    Green. It’s the only way to go.

  4. thanks shannon, 94 milllion gal is way more than
    12 million from the gestamaters, and i am sure no one will know until they cap this mess.

    huffington post has so many articles on haliburton and hey its cheeneys world, wow…remember him..
    and how they are the company that worked on the cementing of the piping and how it was not sure how this cementing would work down as deep as they went in the gulf, they were used to shallower events. and just last year in australia the same haliburton group had their major leak happen just about the same way.

    i suggest all to go on huffington post and click on all the blogs that are connected and you will learn how haliburton is working in this field and also the fracking of shale in new york state and nyc for natural gas . look out new york, its already happening.

    energy of the future MUST not go into the hands of haliburton and all that are under its umbrella.
    as it is now, IT IS.

    energy must get cleaner, young people of the future, take heed.

  5. Where next? Cook Inlet. Arctic Ocean. Corporations only care about making the most money they possibly can. They are in control.

  6. Remember-our supreme court recently ruled that corporations are just like people-having the same rights——–as citizens! Monstrous is what I call

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