By Frank James and Alison Richards
NPR's Richard Harris has learned that much more oil and natural gas, 70,000 barrels a day or more than ten times the official estimate, is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon pipe, based on scientific analysis of the video released Wednesday.
That's the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez tanker full every four days.
The U.S. Coast Guard has estimated that oil was gushing into the ocean at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day. But, again, NPR has been told that estimate is very low.
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Others have estimated before now that oil was spilling at a much faster rate than the official Coast Guard rate of 5,000 barrels a day.
SkyTruth.org, for instance, had a post on May 1, May Day, which is apt since that's the call sign for calamity, that said the 11 million gallons spilled by the Exxon Valdez was surpassed by the gulf spill on that day. There are 42 gallons of crude oil in a barrel so 11 million gallons would equal about 261,904 barrels.
Assuming the flow rate has been steady since the gusher started on April 20, the gulf spill surpassed the Exxon Valdez in the first four days.
categories: Accidents and Disasters