The Wall Street Journal: BP Challenges Accuracy Of Higher Estimates Of Gulf Oil Leak

BP challenged the accuracy of third-party estimates Friday of their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of those estimates put the figure at 50,000 barrels a day or more. However, BP was still not able to put its own figure on the volume.

BP was forced to admit Thursday that the leak exceeds their initial estimate of 5,000 barrels a day after the amount they managed to siphon into a tanker matched that initial estimate, yet thousands of gallons of crude oil continued to leak from the sea floor.

BP, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Minerals Management Service, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Geologic Survey have formed a taskforce to attempt to calculate the oil flow by May 22nd.

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The Times-Picayune: Costly, time-consuming test of cement linings in Deepwater Horizon rig was omitted, spokesman says

BP hired Schlumberger, a top oilfield service company to test the strength of the cement linings on the Deepwater Horizon’s well, but sent the firm’s members home 11 hours before the rig exploded without doing the final check that a top cementing company executive called “the only test that can really determine the actual effectiveness” of the well’s seal.

Stephen T. Harris spokesman for Schlumberger said that BP had a team and equipment for sending acoustic testing lines down the well “on standby” from April 18 to April 20 but BP never asked for the test before sending the team home.

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Huffington Post: Human Health Tragedy in the Making: Gulf Response Failing to Protect Peop

Fisherman responders in Grand Bayou, Louisiana working on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are reporting symptoms including bad headaches, hacking coughs, stuffy sinuses, and sore throats.

The Material Safety Data Sheets for crude oil and the dispersants used to break up the oil list these symptoms as signs of overexposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and other chemicals coming off the slick.

The Environmental Protection Agency posted its air quality monitoring data from the area last weekend, which showed federal standards being exceeded by 100 to 1,000-fold for VOC’s. Levels this high could certainly be responsible for the reported symptoms and are cause for alarm in the coastal communities.

The situation is a disaster in the making. It only takes three workers to request a Health Hazard Evaluation but fishermen won’t make the request because, since fisheries have closed, spill response might be the only job they can get.

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NPR: Scientist: BP’s Oil Spill Estimates Improbable

Steve Wereley, Associate Professor of Engineering at Purdue University, has concluded, based on video analysis of the footage released by the Senate, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill seems to be leaking faster than he originally thought.

Last week Wereley calculated the flow from the biggest three leaks on the sea floor, using a well-established scientific technique, and found the flow could be 10 times larger than the official figure of 5,000 barrels a day. But after analyzing new video, he discovered that the flow appears to be even greater than that at 100,000 barrels a day.

BP’s maintains that its focus in on containing the spill, so calculating the flow of the leak is a low priority. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) rejected this statement, saying that BP’s approach raises concerns that they are hiding the full extent of the potential damage.

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