Coast Guard Adjusts After Spill Estimate Rises Sharply
By LIZ ROBBINS
The Coast Guard moved on Friday to cope with new, much larger estimates of the rate that oil is gushing from the damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico, and to press BP, the oil company responsible for the well, to adapt its plans to process the oil while continuing to try to cap the well.
“We’re still dealing with the flow estimate, and we’re trying to refine those numbers,” Adm. Thad W. Allen said in a news conference on Friday morning. Referring to BP’s proposals for handling the oil, Admiral Allen said, “We’re reconciling to see if the plan they have given us meets the requirements.”
A government panel of scientists released findings on Thursday saying that before the stricken well’s riser pipe was cut on June 3, a step needed to fit a containment cap over the leak, crude oil was being released at a rate of 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day. That range was a substantial increase from the panel’s previous estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels daily, which in turn far exceeded the early 5,000-barrel figure that the Coast Guard proposed, and BP eventually deferred to, for weeks after the accident. More...