The issue of how fast the well is leaking has been murky from the beginning. For several days after the April 21 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the government and BP claimed that the well on the ocean floor was leaking about 1,000 barrels a day.
A small organization called SkyTruth, which uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems, published an estimate on April 27 suggesting that the flow rate had to be at least 5,000 barrels a day, and probably several times that.The following day, the government — over public objections from BP — raised its estimate to 5,000 barrels a day. A barrel is 42 gallons, so the estimate works out to 210,000 gallons per day.
BP later acknowledged to Congress that the worst case, if the leak accelerated, would be 60,000 barrels a day, a flow rate that would dump a plume the size of the Exxon Valdez spill into the gulf every four days. BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, has estimated that the reservoir tapped by the out-of-control well holds at least 50 million barrels of oil. ~ New York Times Article
I am always amazed at the lack of preparation for these kinds of ecological disasters. Companies continue to make profits and the rest of the world suffers.
Looking at a List of oil spills in the world the cumulative effects are obvious.
I clearly remember the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 and although almost 2 decades have passed experts say “Exxon Valdez oil persists in the environment and, in places, is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill. The Spills are All Around Us just not visible.
From the amount of appeals Exon Valdez made increasing the costs to the people of the US after the spill you have to wonder at the capitalist and legal process! ExxonMobil made $295 billion in profits from 2001-09 and more than $6 billion in the first quarter of 2010.
Until these companies pay for the environmental damage they cause; the spills will continue.