McClatchy, June 7, 2010,
BP's runaway Deepwater Horizon well may be spewing what the company once-called its worst case scenario 100,000 barrels a day, a member of the government panel told McClatchy Monday.
"In the data I've seen, there's nothing inconsistent with BP's worst case scenario," Ira Leifer, an associate researcher at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the government's Flow Rate Technical Group, told McClatchy.
Leifer said that based on satellite data he's examined, the rate of flow from the well has been increasing over time, especially since BP's "top kill" effort failed last month to stanch the flow. The decision last week to sever the well's damaged riser pipe from the its blowout preventer in order to install a "top hat" containment device has increased the flow still more _ far more, Leifer said, than the 20 percent that BP and the Obama administration predicted.
Leifer noted that BP had estimated before the April 20 explosion that caused the leak that a freely flowing pipe from the well would release 100,000 barrels of oil a day in the worst-case scenario.