Lifted directly from The Oil Drum, and relevant to some of the recent themes here. Emphasis added by me.
Relevant to the shabby sensationalism at NPR and much echoed on green media:
shelburn on May 27, 2010 – 11:22am
AP News release
U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt said Thursday that a government task force estimates that anywhere from 500,000 gallons to a million gallons a day has been leaking.
The new government estimate means at least 19 million gallons and maybe as much as 39 million gallons have leaked in the five weeks since an oil rig exploded and sank.
That would be about 12,000 to 24,000 bpd, way under the previous “scientific” estimates. And it is a range, not a flat number. Looks like the task force may be getting it right. No mention in the press release of the snapshot of time when the estimate was made.
Media of course grabs the number and multiplies by number of days starting 3 or 4 days before the blow out without any adjustment or mention of the flow starting out slow and steadily increasing.
That would make the Purdue number which was supposed to be accurate by +/- 20% off by 75% even using the task force’s high number, 87% using their low number. And he was on the task force. Be interesting if there is any follow up from the media about the overstatements.
It is still a terrible spill, almost certainly surpassing the Exxon Valdez (which may have actually be close to twice as much as Exxon reported) in quantity even if the top kill is successful.
…and right in line with the estimates posted here on TOD. Too bad the press didn’t come here for a little education – they would have been able to ask better questions and provide much better service to the public. I sent NPR a nasty note early on (before the flow-rate controversy) criticizing their superficial coverage, lack of informed analysis, etc. and pointed to the discussions here – not that it did any good…
The gas fraction wasn’t addressed in the press release was it?
One can hope that the report from the task force, when it is finalized, will include estimates of the rate over time from the beginning.
Overall the incident is a hard lesson for all sides. The industry needs to have effective procedures and techniques at the ready to handle repairs and disaster mitigation at depth if deep water drilling is to continue. Spill response needs to be improved. We need to understand what happens to oil released at depth and how it affects the ocean ecosystem. Is use of dispersants really the best of the bad alternatives?
Relevant to the technical competence of the response:
First post, so please forgive my ignorance and delete if inappropriate to this thread. Can anyone tell me why they waited over a month to attempt this top kill?
Re: Shelburn’s “Be interesting if there is any follow up from the media about the overstatements,” place your bets, ladies and gents.