BP Oil Spill worse than the Exxon Valdez spill? Experts debate

Industrial Accidents

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May 27, 2010– The Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident may be causing more damage than earlier estimated, say some experts. BPs intital estimates of about 5000 barrels per day may be too much on the lower side. The Washington Post quotes that U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt said at a news conference Thursday that two teams of scientists, using different methods, have preliminarily determined that between 17 and 27 million gallons of oil have gushed into the ocean so far, which makes it comparable to the oil spill caused by the Exxon Valdez supertanker, which ran aground off Alaska’s coast in Prince William Sound about a decade back.

This also implies that the average spillage rate would be around 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day, which is far higher than BPs earlier estimates.

Meanwhile the reports coming in from various sources say that the “Top Kill” operation started by BP to staunch the oil flow is progressing well. President Obama has already put a moratorium on further drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, for at least six months.

In Washington, Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, who is leading the emergency review¬† into the whole accident is believed to have blamed the earlier (Bush) administration for “reprehensible” culture that developed within the Minerals Management Service, the regulatory agency in the government that issues permits for offshore oil drilling.