Oil Flow Rate More Than Double What BP and Government Have Said

This will not be a shock for anybody paying attention to the ever changing figures from BP on what they are capturing from the containment cap versus what is blindingly obvious from watching the spillcam live video feed, but BP and the US government have yet again been dishonest about the nature and size of the oil gusher leaking into the Gulf of Mexico water.

From Reuters:

The new estimates are considerably higher than the prior “best estimate” of 12,000-19,000 bpd issued on May 27 by the so-called Flow Rate Technical Group.

The flow of crude from the ruptured well could have been as low as 20,000 barrels (840,000 gallons/3.18 million liters) per day and as high as 40,000 bpd, with an average flow rate of 25,000-30,000 bpd, according to the findings announced by U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt.

The thing to keep in mind here is that even these new higher figures are before the riser was cut off the Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on June 3. The estimate from BP and the government has been that the cut increased the flow 10%-20% from the baseline before the cut. All of which would indicate the current flow could easily be 48,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Not to mention, of course, there has not once been an estimate by either BP or the US government which was anything but a serious underestimate; so the safe bet is the real flow rate from the Macondo well is even higher yet, especially considering the visual evidence lends the conclusion the cutting of the riser increased the flow noticeably more than 20%. You have to wonder if the public will ever get a straight answer out of BP and the Obama Administration.

[Graphic – BP: Broken Promises. Logo design by Foye 2010 submitted as part of the Art For Change BP Logo Redesign Contest and used with permission]

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

89 replies
  1. Arbusto says:

    Not to worry. An abject apology from the working group, for overestimating the estimate, is due any minute. A matter of misplacing the decimal, don’t you know.

  2. ApacheTrout says:


    Given that the upper range is double the lower range, I have little confidence in the work of the Flow Rate Technicl Group (FRTG). Some of the models, discarded of course because they couldn’t possibly be right, show up to 50,000 bdp spewing from BP’s well.

    This shouldn’t be that complex. There is a maximum possible flow for a full pipe given any pressure. That’s what the FRTG should be looking at. BP’s internal documents on the well’s capacity should be subpoened NOW. THEY KNOW exactly how much oil is spewing.


    • john in sacramento says:

      This shouldn’t be that complex. There is a maximum possible flow for a full pipe given any pressure. That’s what the FRTG should be looking at


      Thinking about the syphon

      There’s gotta be someone who’s an expert in fluid dynamics available to them. Here’s the thing: you have crude mixed in with sediment and gas, just think about the cavitation involved in a mile long pipe


      Not to mention friction, the expanding gas on the way up, and etc … Even if you have the most powerful vacuum in the world attached to the siphon, it can’t be all that efficient

      PS And about what’s actually leaking (not captured) – I think it’s much higher than anyone’s saying

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The flow rate numbers I’ve seen vary between 50-100,000 barrels a day. Even if BP is capturing 15,000/day, that leaves one helluva leak, an Exxon Valdez or more every week.

    Given the serial, tandem lying about leak rates – and the secrecy both the government and BP are holding to – it’s becoming increasingly hard to determine whose problem this is, who’s in charge, and who the adverse party is. It is increasingly seemingly like the adverse party is the public, whose resources, jobs and lives are in jeopardy, not BP. As with many things Obama, that is the reverse of normal.

    • Cujo359 says:

      Based on what I read at the Beeb, they could capture at least another 5,000 BPD if they just had enough pumps or whatever. That’s the minimum amount. The maximum? Probably that 100k that BP and the USGS both estimated as the upper bound if the oil was flowing freely.

      My guess right now would be in the 30k to 50k region, but that assumes the Top Suck attachment’s seal hasn’t failed.

    • stevedaly says:

      BP and the government have not released, so far as I know, what the diameter of the broken pipe is. Top secret! Do the math if the diameter of the is 32″, which is probably too large, and the flow rate, eyeballing the high resolution, could be 3 diameters or 96″ per second, then the volume calculates out to 626,000 barrels per day. I’m not saying this is the real volume. We don’t know what the drill pipe diameter is. The production pipe might only be 24″ or less. But it gives you the conccept that there could be a massive number out there.

      Also now there is some question about whether a production platform is safe:


        • fatster says:

          Dimensions and diagrams are over at theoildrum.com, but I have difficulty maneuvering around over there. So I googled.

          “Since EnergyBoom first posted this video of the oil gushing from the main pipe at the Deepwater Horizon, people have been asking what the exact size of the pipe is.

          “A source at BP has just confirmed to us that the pipe in this video showing the main leak is 20” (almost 2 feet) in diameter.

          “Specifically, the outer is 21″; the inner is 20″, according to BP.”


            • fatster says:

              Please use what number you think is best. I have no idea and was not trying to weigh in with any kind of authority. I was just trying to help drhu22.

              Looking forward to your post. Please let us know when it’s up.

  4. econobuzz says:

    Obama is lying. He has been lying from the beginning. This narrative that the government has slowly become aware that the leak might be larger than first thought is a fucking bald face lie. He knew from the beginning.

    The second lie is that BP will pay. BP will NOT pay. The third and biggest lie, however, is that he has been in charge from the beginning. He has been HIDING from the beginning. The response is a disgrace.

    If Shrub were in office, we would be calling for impeachment.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, honestly I think 48,000-50,000 is likely still low, by how much I am not sure; but at least we are now getting up to that which is not intellectually insulting.

  5. Prakosh says:

    “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    Did anyone expect a company who wrote its own lie filled inspection reports; that has defied the American government at nearly every turn following this event; that was given free rein, in spite of their horrendous record of safety violations and repeated demonstrations of their unwillingness to correct their despicable practices, to do whatever they wanted before and after the spill, would suddenly do a complete turnaround and become as truthful as possible?

    What isn’t widely known but will be if enough people read the current damning story in Rolling Stone entitled, “The Spill, The Scandal and the President” is that within hours after the Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, a white board in National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “war room” in Seattle estimated that the worst case scenario was “64,000 to 100,000 barrels a day.” This at the time that the administration was still letting BP estimate that only 1,200 barrels a day were escaping.

    Within a few days BP would up that estimate to 5,000 barrels a day. But make no mistake, the administration knew from the start that the BP estimates were not even close to what was gushing from the wellhead.

    The level of complicity between the administration and BP is still for the most part unknown, but we can say that the only person who is even trying to hold BPs feet to the fire is Rep. Ed Markey, who is responsible for much of what the public knows about the BP spill.

    As The New York Times reported yesterday, the company now is doing everything in their power to ensure that the public knows as little as possible about this gushing oil disaster. In addition to requiring that anyone working on the cleanup refrains from speaking with the press, BP is denying journalists permission to fly over the spill site and in the worst case journalists are being denied access to public areas affected by the spill by local officials.

    In the worst example a group of journalists visiting with Senator Bill Nelson were denied access to the area on a Coast Guard vessel. According to the Times when first contacted the Coast Guard agrees to the presence of the journalists but later they called the Senator and said that the journalists would not be allowed to accompany him.

    The directive denying the journalists access evidently came from the Department of Homeland Security. ” ‘They said it was the Department of Homeland Security’s response-wide policy not to allow elected officials and media on the same ‘federal asset,’ ‘ said Bryan Gulley, a spokesman for the senator.” The Department would give no further explanation for the change.

    What these several examples show is that the administration and BP seem to have decided either together or individually that both have something to gain by restricting access to the press. In other words controlling the narrative and the public perception regarding this tragedy has become for whatever reasons something that the administration and BP are both agreeing is in their mutual best interests.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, I have thought from the outset that the flow rates were seriously underestimated and stated; however, saying that just because there were very high “worst case scenario” numbers known to BP and the government right off the bat is not proof of anything. We know for a fact there were restrictions on the flow in the form of casing, drill strings, plug remnants, narrowing in the BOP, and the bent and crimped riser. So the “worst case scenario” really does not tell you jack.

      • econobuzz says:

        So the “worst case scenario” really does not tell you jack.

        That’s nonsense. The “worst case scenario” is THE most important estimate — from a management standpoint. That estimate should drive the entire response to the crisis.

  6. JohnEmerson says:

    Switching between bpd and gpd confuses people.

    As far as I can tell, this leak is now in the top ten all time, quantitatively, and if it continues for 2-3 months should be in the top 2 or 3. Considering everything (population, tourism, fisheries, the already-threatened gulf, the enclosed nature of the gulf), per barrel it’s probably one of the more destructive spill/leaks.

    At the link I have a little summary. It’s not new, but we really haven’t been given much new information. It includes links to the appropriate wikis:

  7. econobuzz says:

    Not to mention, of course, there has not once been an estimate by either BP or the US government which was anything but a serious underestimate …

    There has been something bothering me about this whole bullshit narrative from the very beginning. A real leader would mobilize around the HIGHEST estimate of leakage, not the lowest. He would marshal all resources — all in the world, in fact — against the HIGHEST level of risk, not the lowest.

    The proper analogy here is a nuclear meltdown. A real leader would assume the WORST, and act and plan accordingly. And he would never, EVER, let the folks who caused the meltdown be in charge of defining its likely effects or the proper response to it.

    Allowing confusion to exist over the size of this spill and its likely consequences for over a month, and allowing the response to falter as is shown on TRMS every night, is in my mind an unforgivable error, bordering on an impeachable offense.

  8. fatster says:

    In the Rolling Stone article which pretty much summarizes the situation thus far, a video was referenced which shows a NOAA meeting very early on in the crisis. The estimate there was 110,000 barrels a day or 4.6 million gallons. (Thanks to qweryous for providing the link to the video.) Since this was a meeting of scientists and not politicians and BP reps, I’d recommend starting with it as the “most likely” in terms of accuracy until scientists are allowed the unfettered access necessary to determine the rate precisely (if they ever are).

  9. cregan says:

    bmaz, you are right, this is not surprising. Even now, we don’t know if this figure is correct. (how do you measure something like this anyway?)

    I could have stomached this is they had said, “This is an estimate,” at first. But, BP’s certainty at first and then the Administration’s later makes it a farce.

    If any credibility remained, it is blown to hell with this.

  10. malagodi says:

    The more they try to restrict or cap the release at the wellhead, the greater the risk of rupture before the wellhead, under the sea floor. An unintentional fracture.

    This has probably already happened. See previous event http://bit.ly/bku98F with remarkably similar details.

    Analysis of satellite imagery indicates no lessening of the surface oil since the cap, which would be the case with an underground rupture.

    Government or corporations supposed to be imbued with a morality of truthfulness previously only applied or expected from individuals? That’s just silly.

    The composer John Cage, the anarchist, imagined a government so powerless and inept that it was “embarrassed out of existence.” Nice idea, but I think it will take more than shame.

    • bmaz says:

      If you have read my previous posts here on the BP mess, you know I have long believed the well integrity was blown and that it is only a question of to how full of an extent. I also fully believe that the reason the “Top Kill” process was suddenly cut short without notice and before was originally planned is because they were losing mud into the well cavity and surrounding geologic structure and they became very afraid, as in terrified, they were going to back pressure the well so much that they might blow out the cement collar at the well head which may be the only thing remaining holding holy hell from erupting.

      • DWBartoo says:

        That would be the “pith” of it.


        (Unless there is a bit “more” …)

        bmaz, you’re at your best when you mince no words.


  11. DWBartoo says:

    The “actual flow rate”.

    If “it” is “actually” known, is not what we are being told, certainly not what we are being told now … at least, “officially” (and the government doesn’t know what to say either).

    My guess is that the “worst case” is “actually” much worse than has been admitted to.

    The religiously denied, perhaps to be, belatedly, “investigated”, plumes which are now called “clouds”, coupled with the clampdown and ongoing “confusion” on scene, the “distracting” political noise to continue drilling babies for dire economic or essentially patriotic “reasons”, and the US Chamber of Commerce’s “prematurely” announced call for taxpayer “responsibility” for the “accident”, suggests that worse or even far worse “news” than has been “shared”, thus far, may yet await us.

    While nothing is certain, the lack of information certainly makes speculation much more interesting. (And, from my own perspective, the education surrounding so many aspects of this catastrophe, provided here is fascinating, riveting, and occasionally, appalling. For which I thank each of you).


  12. ubetchaiam says:

    “You have to wonder if the public will ever get a straight answer out of BP and the Obama Administration.”; no,I don’t because I know the answer is never.

    IRA LEIFER: Somehow there was a miscommunication, and the report that we had written, which said, based on the data, we can only come up with a lower estimate—the data was such low quality, we don’t know what the upper estimate is—somehow that was miscommunicated and released as the full range. And immediately, the University of California put a copy of the original document on our website to make it available for everyone to see and compare. And within a relatively short time, many of the statements coming out of the administration, some of them, began to reflect the new—the correct interpretation, which was what we had said.

    But the other thing, and this is one of the issues I’d like to try to clarify with the audience, this is not—it’s not a pipe coming out of a big tank. It’s a very complex geologic system underneath. And it’s also being affected by activities of BP. So the flow today is not necessarily the flow tomorrow. And it’s hard to speak of a precise number, like this is the flow. So, for example, we have, from previously, forty-five minutes of video from BP, and from that, we were able to estimate—and it should be released very soon—what our range of flows is. But that only reflects that forty-five minutes. We do not know what was happening five minutes before; we do not know what was happening five minutes afterwards. And this is—and worse is that from looking at the satellite imagery of the evolution of this oil slick strongly suggests that the emission rate has been increasing since the incident occurred. And one of the things that of course has been happening is that various efforts to attempt to stop the spill could easily have had the effect of allowing greater oil to come in. So what I’m trying to say is, this is—it’s a moving target, and we’re trying to actually even keep up so that the next strategies are appropriate.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, the lower-bound range, 12,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil a day, the higher range, 100,000 barrels a day, that’s more than four million gallons a day, Ira Leifer?

    IRA LEIFER: It is in that range. And while there is no way to say for sure that the system is in fact dumping that much oil into the Gulf, from a geologic point of view, from a freely flowing pipe, there’s no reason it could not. This reservoir is massive, and it could easily flow that kind of oil for the next twenty or thirty years, if it was left to go unattended. So the amount of oil that could end up in the environment if measures are not successful is at what I would call unimaginable.

  13. TheOracle says:

    This BP oil disaster in the Gulf equals a toxic chemical WMD attack on America, and all this BP oil gushing into the Gulf waters and spilling on America’s shores definitely qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

    And the only ones probably amused? Al Qaeda. They are probably chortling at all the self-inflicted damage done to America since the 9/11 attacks, by the Bush/Cheney administration, by run amok corporations on Wall Street, and now by BP, Transocean, Halliburton and any other corporations responsible for this WMD attack on America from a device that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico.

  14. alan1tx says:

    Why phreak out over the stated amount? 5000 B per day, 50,000 B per day, 500,000 B per day.

    It is what it is.

    • econobuzz says:

      Yeah, like, what if a comet was heading for earth. Why phreak out at the size? One mile wide, 500 miles wide, 5,000 miles wide.

      It is what it is.

      • alan1tx says:

        So you agree.

        The headline reads “Oil Flow Rate More Than Double What BP and Government Have Said”

        If BP and the Government said the comet [probably an asteroid] was 1 wide, then changed it to 500 miles wide, then, 5,000 miles wide, it’s still the same problem.

        Makes a nice anti-… post though.

  15. iremember54 says:

    I can’t believe the people of this Country that believed anything BP said from the start of this.

    All Corporations first concern is liability, and I’m sure their Lawyers from day one have told them to low ball all estimates of how much oil is leaking.

    Yet we also keep believing them on everything they can do to shut down the leak, and our ignorant scientists are going along with them on all of that.

    We have Old Thad Allen watching over them, and HE’s just a touch smarter than a horny toad. The Government gave them the permit, let them do the drilling, and has let them tell us what can and can’t be done.

    After the accident our Government has confirmed just how ignorant it really is, and has not even tried to handle the situation other than giving BP the the keys to the Kingdom.

    • econobuzz says:

      We have Old Thad Allen watching over them, and HE’s just a touch smarter than a horny toad.

      Exactly. Next time, listen closely to the stupid, contradictory drivel that comes out of that guy’s mouth. But he has this demeanor that scares folks away from following up with the obvious question, “What the fuck are you talking about, Thad?”

  16. goldstandard says:

    No doubt the final financial fine tally is directly related to what is spewing. The higher the number as far as output the higher the fine. It will be interesting to see whose estimate a court of law ( if there is still a legitimate one left ) will settle on. I read somewhere that the fine is something like $4,300 per barrel.

    Honestly, I cant imagine BP surviving this calamity, but if talk of a US tax payer bailout is being whispered about now, a royal screwing of the tax payer can’t be far behind. Maybe some day will vote in politicians with brass balls that haven’t sold their souls to Wall Street banks or corporate America.But after fifty years of hoping that the right people were voted in, it seems that fresh meat, once it steps inside the beltway, goes rancid very quickly.

    • alan1tx says:

      BP survive?
      Are you kidding?
      They are planning on paying their investers $10B.

      They can pay every fisherman in the Golf a salary for ever and not cut into that.

      Cleanup will cost a little money for them. Etc.

    • bmaz says:

      First, the fine can go north of $4,000/bbl, that does not mean it will do so. Almost invariably, the amount is set by agreement with the EPA and DOj and all the court does is formalize the agreement by accepting the terms. The offender (in this case BP) and the government also standardly come to an agreement as to the “amount” of hydrocarbons “spilled” and, seeing as how there is no way to come up with a completely accurate “amount”, they will just arbitrarily pick an amount. The arbitrary amount agreed to as “spilled” for purposes of fine allotment will be nowhere within light years of the real amount and you can bet the family farm on that. Also there is about zero chance the maximum fine rate will be applied. There is a track record for how these things go and what you are thinking ain’t even close to it; you are giving way way too much credit for the accountability that can or will maintain.

  17. PJEvans says:

    There are a lot of people putting out flow numbers based on Ghu knows what information. Some of them are doing it for their own purposes, and some of them may actually have a clue what they’re doing.

    I understand that the flow measurement group was careful to say that their earlier numbers were always the minimum estimated amount, but I’d bet that that was never made clear by the mike-wielding heads.
    I’d also bet that none of the mike-wielding heads have ever bothered to find out what the conditions are at the BOP.

    • bmaz says:

      Accurate information as to the true conditions at the well head is no more available to “mike wielding heads” than it is to you or me.

  18. Kassandra says:

    We’re gonna have trouble with Britain over this whole thing watch and see.
    I really don’t blame them
    they don’t want to lose anymore $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ after OUR banks messed up their economy and now OUR lousy government allowed their oil company to get away with egregious murder

    • myshadow says:

      “We’re gonna have trouble with Britain over this whole thing watch and see.
      I really don’t blame them
      they don’t want to lose anymore $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ after OUR banks messed up their economy and now OUR lousy government allowed their oil company to get away with egregious murder”

      This is so spot on that it bears repeating.

      We already gave them cover when we dropped the case on AIG. It was joey cassano and AIGSP who were based out of London, that was the stinking gangrenous source of the 16 billion bailout for goldman. Both sides are siamese accomplices.
      As soon as barry participated in the cover up for the meltdown instead of frogmarching the perpertraters of the biggest fraud in history he was going to own it.
      Now the Gulf of Mexico is being murdered, payback is a bitch.

      Their total inactivity in organizing a clean up is mind boggeling this is like a slowmotion ‘My Pet Goat’.
      May the divinity of your choice help us choose a better President.

  19. TheOracle says:

    This BP oil disaster in the Gulf represents a toxic chemical WMD attack on the United States of America, and definitely all this BP oil gushing into the Gulf waters and onto America’s shores qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

    And the culture of corruption Republicans, along with some corporatist Blue Dog Democrats, fully support the “terrorists” responsible for this toxic chemical WMD attack on America. Traitors. Tarring and feathering them (like a tar-covered Gulf Coast pelican) is too good for them.

    • bmaz says:

      What is this fixation on calling this “WMD”? I just do not get that. It is not a WMD; it is a common oil spill writ large and grotesque, but it is not a WMD.

      • Hugh says:

        It is an analogy. Here it is between WMD and BP’s massive corporate negligence. Remember how Warren Buffett called CDS financial WMD. It’s the same thing. I for one have invoked al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to compare how little their efforts have done to damage our country as opposed to Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Henry Paulson among so many others, you know political terrorists vs. financial terrorists.

    • alan1tx says:

      Terrorists attacks are usually intended rather than accidental.

      And Tarring and feathering humans [like a tar-covered Gulf Coast pelican] sounds like torture.

      Is this your policy?

    • moderateextremist says:

      Is not mentioning President Obama, the Obama Administration, the Obama Administration’s appointee running the Interior Department, and that appointee’s appointee who ran the Minerals Management Service, a deliberate series of ommissions on your part when you list the parties responsible for the Gulf oil catastrophe?

      Because…I think all of the above rate at least a passing mention.

      Any oracle should be able to see that.

  20. Minnesotachuck says:

    I’m curious as to whether BP or the Feds have tried to put some sort of flow measuring sensor in the discharge stream (or the main one if they are plural). I’d think that a turbine flow meter could provide some meaningful flow rate info, assuming that BP has some good numbers for such parameters as aperture cross section at the sensing point, specific gravity, temperature, etc. Perhaps some veal pen denizen can bestir him or herself sufficiently to ask this basic question of Tony what’s is name, before he walks the plank.

    • PJEvans says:

      The more experienced folks posting at TOD say there’s nothing out there that can handle the conditions.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        I don’t doubt that for normal operational or revenue metering requirements. I was just hoping they could get a guesstimate to within 50% or so and not the multi-hundreds they’ve been playing in since this started.

  21. Hugh says:

    You know all this does is bring us back to the 25,000-30,000 range a lot of us were using as a guesstimate from almost the beginning. Similar wells in the area were producing at around 50,000-60,000 bbls/day. Figure in about 50% for various crimps in the pipes and you got the number above. No rocket science involved. Now since they cut off the riser, the LMRP is siphoning off about 10,000-15,000 bbls/day. But this is off the full flow rate (no crimps) so the blowout is spewing around 35,000-50,000 bbls now. Again no rocket science involved. It will be interesting to see how refinements in USGS analyses track with this.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, my inclination is that it is up around 50,000 bpd, if not some more now that the riser is cut off. May be noticeably higher. My guess is it si not so easy to measure, and you could not just put a turbine measuring device on because the flow is both gas and oil – and not a consistent mix of the two – and they would affect the reading differently. Can probably get a good range of accuracy but probably not better than a solid range.

      • Hugh says:

        And the LMRP is not catching all the flow. You have seepage around it and they are also keeping some of the vents open because I think they are worried about back pressure on a compromised BOP.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, who said anything about the cap catching all the flow??? Crikey, I don’t think they are catching half of it and it might be a third. Who knows, but I would be well beyond shocked if they are getting anywhere even near half.

  22. cwolf says:

    Get a load of this pile of crap from the Grey Lady:

    LONDON — Spewing oil and alienating Americans with its chief executive’s impolitic remarks, BP may be Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States. But in Britain, where the company is a mainstay of the stock market and a favorite of pension funds, investors and politicians are becoming increasingly angry at the blistering attacks from across the Atlantic.

    Isn’t this the same Britain that invaded the US & torched the White House a couple hundred years back ?…
    & tried to help the goddamn rebels win OUR Civil War???

    Fuck You England

  23. edve says:

    So the flow is whatever anyone wants to assume it is…really doesn’t matter actually…it is enough to kill the Gulf…kill the industries along the coast, and rob folks of their ways of life. It may also wind up fucking the oceans and the larger environment for decades to come…so ruminating about the numbers doesn’t mean jackshit!

    What IS important is how we are going to make these bastards accountable and how can we hold their feet to the fire and perhaps in it! So far, I don’t see all the squabble and talk doing a god damn thing. ObamaRahm and the boys are playing us to the hilt…and what have we got to go up against them…scary proclamations like…well wait until November-ya all gonna be in trouble then when we vote your asses out…YEAH RIGHT! Don’t hold your breath please.

    Until this lazy ass general public rises up looking to justify their anger and kick some ass…it will be politics and fuck the common folk as usual. Anybody out there see anything that even rises to the occasion to blunt these dickheads who have us under their thumb?? Shit man, we cannot even wade in our own waters…BP owns them don’t you know!

    • eblair says:

      Start questioning their patriotism. Every last one of them. Cause they don’t love their country. That is fucking obvious.

  24. eblair says:

    I have nothing intelligent to add, just a bit of rant: I love how they switched from barrels to gallons when they switched from talk of how much was leaking to how much they were capturing. How fucking stupid do they think we are?

  25. tanbark says:

    I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you! That this fine, upstanding and pubic-spirited company has jiggered numbers around on the amount of oil going into the GOM.

    After all these years of honesty and forthrightness, particularly in their recent, unimpeachable, statements about the quantity escaping, it’s a shame that for some unknown reason they decided tell one little white lie.
    Now, they’ll have to write some NEW press releases for Barack Obama’s Coast Guard to parrot to the mainstream media.

    I feel so badly for them. Tomorrow morning I’m going door-to-door, collecting canned food for Tony Hayward and the BP Board of Directors.

    Oh: Could someone please tell Preznint Obama, as he looks “for ass to kick” about this little environmental glitch, to stay away from mirrors? I’d hate for him to go into the mid-terms with a sprained leg and a sore ass.

  26. YYSyd says:

    Since there’s no argument that the leak is producing as much as the well was intended, I still would say it would have to produce more than enough to make the $500k+ per day lease of the now defunked platform. At $10 lease allocation per barrel that would be 50,000 + barrels a day. I think the problem is that the qty is beyond most normal understanding of amounts and number of fingers.

  27. tjbs says:

    If it’s unstoppable ……

    This can be bigger than an asteroid hit, in the end smothering out all life slowly but surely between the methane and damage to the food chain it is unrepairable.

    A government hollow as an empty oil barrel, all sold out and brought by the highest bidder. Corruption is like corrosion in that it restricts the possible outcomes, i.e. good law for the common good instead of good for the few that brought them out.

  28. wavpeac says:

    What blows my mind in my neck of the woods, is that no one around me wants to talk about it. My Obama supporter friends can’t talk about it, because I think they are really disappointed in the way Obama is handling things. Reminds me of when we started to hear about Lewinsky and Clinton. People who like Obama don’t know what to say. Then my right wing friends don’t want to talk about it, because they are busy minimizing. “It’ll be cleaned up soon”. “It looks bad now but they cleaned up the Valdez leak”. Blows my mind.

    And finally, I think this situation is hard to talk about because so little is known about the consequences of this. It depends so much on how soon they can get the leak stopped, on how much actual damage has been done to date, (which is not really coming out in a because there is more damage happening as we speak…) This makes the disaster difficult to put arms around for people. Death and destruction we get, but we can’t see everything that is dying. We can’t see the full effect of this. We can only estimate it’s effect over time…with an indirect ambiguous…If this, then that.

    I have brought the subject up with family members and cannot get a decent discussion going. My family is compromised of lots of smart people. I think however, the lack of discussion, the poor coverage is in part due to the ambiguity of the situation and the fact that we have been unable to stop it. The scope of the problem shifts daily.

    Not that talking about it, is going to be helpful anyway…maybe it’s just the same collective reaction to helplessness.

    • econobuzz says:

      My Obama supporter friends can’t talk about it, because I think they are really disappointed in the way Obama is handling things. … Then my right wing friends don’t want to talk about it, because they are busy minimizing.

      Add in a feckless President hiding behind the Coast Guard and a CEO thumbing his nose at all of us, and you have total political paralysis.

  29. harpie says:

    The Regulation Crisis; James Surowiecki; The New Yorker; 6/14/10 issue
    [emphasis added]

    […] The obvious problems of graft and the revolving door between government and industry, in other words, were really symptoms of a more fundamental pathology: regulation itself became delegitimatized, seen as little more than the tool of Washington busybodies. This view was exacerbated by the way regulation works in the U.S. Too many regulators, for instance, are political appointees, instead of civil servants. This erodes the kind of institutional identity that helps create esprit de corps, and often leads to politics trumping policy. […] If we want our regulators to do better, we have to embrace a simple idea: regulation isn’t an obstacle to thriving free markets; it’s a vital part of them.

  30. fatster says:

    BofA: A “Conservative” Estimate Is That Deepwater Will Cost BP $28 BILLION

    Yeah. It’s conservative all right.


  31. fatster says:

    If a small break from the heaviness is needed, here’s JS on the disaster, echoing a quote from bmaz: “We are so f*cked!”


  32. fatster says:

    The M$M has heard the deafening silence.

    Why Is Dick Cheney Silent on the Oil Spill?
    The former vice president is usually a vociferous defender of his time in government. But not on the disaster in the gulf.


  33. fatster says:

    Secret Ingredients in Corexit Oil Dispersant Are Carcinogenic and Absorbed Through Skin
    BY ARIEL SCHWARTZThu Jun 10, 2010
    Some of the worst fears about the dispersant BP is using in the Gulf Spill appear to be justified.


  34. scathew says:

    “We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.”


    “The flow rate is 1,000-5,000 25,000-30,000 bpd. The flow rate has always been 1,000-5,000 25,000-30,000 bpd.”

    Why the media isn’t shitting in their pants over this is beyond me (actually it’s not – the dogs do their master’s bidding).

  35. fatster says:

    Norwegian oil spill aid not welcomed by the US

    “OSLO (AFP) – The dispersants used by the Norwegians have not been certified in the United States – even though being more environmentally friendly.”


  36. fatster says:

    This is an amazing, interactive relationship chart. Just double-click on “BP”, for example, and keep going, watch the chart explode into ever more entangled webs. (I had fun with Jamie Gorelick.)


    • klynn says:

      bmaz and I were discussing the Norwegian dispersants in the first few weeks of the spill. I was quite confused about why we were not using them.

  37. prostratedragon says:

    This post at The Oil Drum, and probably also its part 2, has drawings and pictures of drill casings in various circumstances, including a photo that seems to be a grab of one of the ends of the sheared riser of DH.

    The crimping of the inner pipe by the shears is evident, and one can see how multiple channels within the pipe could be made by deliberate or accidental cuts.

    This topic is a little way down from the top of the post.

    Regarding the estimates from the Flow Team, the point that EofH made above through the quote is very important. Those scientists have never stood by the 19,000-to-25,000 estimate as anything beyond an interval estimate of the lower bound of the gush volume.

    At the time that estimate was released, they were themselves unwilling to say anything at all about either a central [average] or an upper bound on their estimate, because of difficulties in getting information from BP. [Link. If you don’t get the full article from WSJ, try googling the exact title.] Today I have been seeking, but have not yet found, a direct release from the scientists with their summary report. Therefore it is not clear to me to what the new estimate should be applied.

    Given the outrageous conduct of BP and most of the federal government regarding information, I think the same restriction should be applied to today’s estimate until a complete report is made: just treat it as a lower bound.

    • prostratedragon says:

      To be more exact, what was released last week was an interval estimate of the minimum flow rate, not to be confused with the lower bound of an interval estimate of the average rate.

      (What in the world are they doing now?)

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