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BP Claims Cap Is Still Working while Second Oil Leak Spills Silently into the Gulf

By Beth Buczynski, Care2

Oil spill

Our partners over at Care2 have shared the following Gulf spill update:

Throughout the five weeks that crude oil has been flowing freely into the Gulf of Mexico, there have been allegations, some fairly well substantiated, that BP isn’t being totally transparent about the extent of the catastrophe.

It has taken weeks to get an accurate idea of how many barrels of oil a day are leaking from the remnants of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. A key government panel now estimates that around 12,000 – 25,000 barrels are leaking from the bottom of the sea each day, dwarfing BP’s initial claims of 2,000 – 5,000 barrels a day.

Although the BP crews have finally managed to place a cap over a portion of the broken well-head, scientists are convinced that statements about capturing the majority of the leaking oil will be quickly disproven.

"BP is claiming they’re capturing the majority of the flow, which I think is going to be proven wrong in short order," team member and Purdue University engineering professor Steve Wereley told the Associated Press. "Why don’t they show the American public the before-and-after shots?"

According to the government’s leading official on the scene, Admiral Thad Allen, the cap that was put on the ruptured well last week collected about 620,000 gallons of oil on Monday and another 330,000 from midnight to noon on Tuesday and funneled it to a ship at the surface. If this were an accurate account, it would mean that the cap was successful in containing at least half of the gushing oil.

At least, the oil from leak Number 1.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Interior today confirmed that a second offshore oil rig has been leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico just ten miles off the coast of southern Louisiana. The second rig has been identified as an old production platform site that was destroyed by a subsurface mudslide in 2004, and is operated by privately held oil exploration company Taylor Energy.

Thankfully, News Junkie reports that the volume of crude oil being released in the second location is much less than that of the Deepwater Horizon, although a 10 mile long oil slick has been detected in satelite images gathered by Skytruth.org, which first reported the leak on its website May 15.

CNBC reported that Taylor has subsequently deployed three subsurface containment domes at the site.

Amy Westervelt, Journalist
The former Managing Editor of the Journal, Amy is associate editor for The Faster Times and This Week in Earth, a columnist for Forbes, and contributes to an assortment of other magazines and websites. In 2007, Amy won the Folio Eddie for excellence in magazine editorial for her feature on algae as a feedstock for biofuel, which was published in Sustainable Industries magazine.

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