Oil spill flow amounts questioned, live subsea video public

By Phaedra Friend Troy

In an effort to better understand the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo well, the US federal government has formed a Flow Rate Technical Team.

For comprehensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon incident, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts under way to resolve them, visit PennEnergy's Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico special section.

Consisting of the US Coast Guard, NOAA, MMS, Department of Energy and US Geological Survey, the Flow Rate Technical Team is creating a report by the close of business on Saturday, May 22, that will report the team’s assessment of the amount of oil that is flowing from the Macondo well.

Operator BP has put the rate of flow at 5,000 barrels of oil a day, about 60 percent of which is being diverted by the riser insertion tool.

The company is providing all requested information about the subsea leak locations, the amounts of oil and gas retrieved on the Discoverer Enterprise drillship and a subsea video of the oil leaks.

In fact, BP has included a live subsea video of the oil leak on its website for the general public to see. US Congressman Ed Markey pushed for this public transparency in senate hearings about the accident.

The company has been providing a live feed to governmental agencies for two weeks through the Unified Area Command center in Louisiana.

BP has been defending its estimates of the rate of oil flowing from the Macondo well leak points at the BOP and drilling riser. In a statement released today, the company stated that the flow has been affected by a number of variables, including a drill pipe stuck in the riser, the distortion of the riser due to the Deepwater Horizon accident, and the natural gas also flowing from the well.

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