BP has consistently disputed the amount of oil spilled from the blown out Macondo well in 2010. That is to be expected from BP and based on what we have learned during the litigation they can’t be trusted. The U.S. government says the total came to 4.9 million barrels. But a report authored by a British engineer, hired by BP, claims that the total volume is more like 3.3 million. When taking into account the 800,000 barrels that BP managed to capture as it gushed out, the government figures 4.1 million barrels actually escaped into the Gulf of Mexico. BP’s hired engineer calculated that 2.46 million barrels actually made it into the Gulf.
The figures come from a 209-page report by London petroleum engineer Martin J. Blunt, a professor at Imperial College in London. Interestingly, this is the first time that BP’s internal flow rate estimates have been made public. The actual number of barrels will determine just how many billions of dollars BP ultimately has to pay out to satisfy Clean Water Act penalties. In the worst case scenario, if U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier finds that BP was grossly negligent in causing the spill and accepts the government’s spill figures, BP could be responsible for paying out as much as $17.6 billion. If the court accepts Blount’s figures, that would reduce the amount by almost one half.
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