Claims about how much oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico
- BP first claimed 1,000 barrels/day
- BP finally agreed to 5,000 barrels/day in mid-May despite several independent reports indicating the spill being more between 15,000 to upwards of 100,000 barrels/day
- Shortly after live video of the leak was released, government scientists estimated the leak to be 12,000-19,000 barrels/day
- On June 10th, this estimate was revised to 20,000-40,000 barrels/day
- On June 15th, this was once again revised to 35,000-60,000 barrels/day
- As of June 17th, BP is claiming to siphon 15,000 barrels/day
- Oil giants like BP meticulously keep track of data, including flow rates, pipe sizes, depths, viscosity, type of oil, reservoir pressure, etc. They do this for several reasons, but mostly, it is to know how much oil they are receiving so that they can provide projections and forecasts to present to investors and other stakeholders as guaranteed income.
- How then did/does BP have absolutely no idea how much oil could possibly be spewing out?
- Yes, the flow rate would not be the same if the well were operational and under control; it would be higher! Still, BP should be able to approximate the minimum leakage based on its previous data.
- Given that current estimates are 60,000 barrels/day, BP’s initial estimates of 1,000 barrels/day is beyond suspicious. It’s damn right a lie.
- How does BP collect 15,000 barrels/day – 15 times more than their initial estimate – yet a significant amount of oil is still gushing out?
Who is saying what
The below chart details what different sources have been estimating for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In this chart, only the dates when a party changed their estimate are included.
Remarks by BP Executives
- Mid-May – CEO of BP, Hayward, said that the amount of oil and dispersant being dumped into the Gulf is very low compared to the volume of the ocean
- Of course this is true. It doesn’t mean that this isn’t the worst oil spill in U.S. history by far, however.
- This is a poor PR remark made to try to spin the story. Much like BP’s attempts at capping, plugging and containing the spill, this was a failure.
- Mid-May – CEO of BP, Hayward, said that the environmental damage should be “very, very modest”
- This is either complete incompetence or a blatant lie. Either way, it is a horrible attempt to spinning the story. In our previous post, we mentioned some hard facts/numbers about the oil spill. Many of these included marine life that has been impacted (as of June 16th):
- 783 birds killed
- 41 dolphins and other mammals killed
- 353 endangered sea turtles killed
- This is not ‘very, very modest’. We haven’t even begun to feel the real effects of this disaster. The environmental and social effects of the Exxon Valdez spill are still going on two decades after the event. This oil spill is (as of June 17th) 14 times as large as that one.
- May 30 – Hayward said that he wants his life back.
- What about the eleven lives your safety shortcuts took?
- What about the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left jobless and others directly or indirectly affected by your inability to put safety as a number one priority?
- They want their lives back.
- May 31 – Hayward blatantly said that there are no plumes in the ocean
- Researchers have since disproved this completely
- On June 8, to save face, BP was still trying to argue the definition of a plume
- June 1 - Hayward’s response to claims that the workers cleaning the oil were sickened by the fumes of the oil, was “food poisoning is clearly a big issue”
- To date, 109 cleanup workers have gotten sick
- June 15 – Hayward, along with other top executives from the world’s largest oil companies are blasted for their emergency response plans which contained:
- References to walruses, which haven’t lived in the Gulf for over 3 Million years
- A scientist contact who has been dead for 5 years
- Almost the exact same material from one company to the next – “cookie-cutter” plans
- June 16 – BP Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, said “We care about the small people” when he was referring to those affected by this disaster
- “A slip in translation” or the truth coming out?
- June 19 – BP chief officer, Tony Hayward, is seen on his boat at the Isle of Wight during a yacht race.
- *Estimates made from low-quality video released by BP
- ^Estimates made from higher quality video released by BP
- **Revised estimated made from government scientists with more data
- SkyTruth is an organization with multiple resources including remote sensing, satellite imagery and digital mapping technology.
- Dr. Ian MacDonald, an oceanography professor at FSU has been providing his own estimates using SkyTruth’s satellite imagery and his knowledge of oil spills, the properties of water and other factors.
- The Coast Guard estimated the oil spill by measuring how much oil surfaced daily, but decided to not estimate twelve days after the explosion.
- The general media continued displaying the numbers obtained from the Coast Guard weeks later despite the Coast Guard ceasing their estimates. After BP released the low-quality video, there wasn’t a general media consensus as many news stations were finally starting to report independent estimates.
- It is unknown how BP was estimating the oil leak.
- “Researchers” include the consensus from different government groups, known as the Flow Rate Technical Groups, analyzing the videos provided by BP
- It is important to note that there were various independent estimates others made using sound waves, satellite imagery, BP’s video, etc.
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