New NOAA Study Mirrors Spill Rate from BP Well

January 11, 2012

Federal scientists say a new chemistry-based analysis of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico closely matches official estimates released at the time of the spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a new study found that an average of 11,130 tons of gas and oil compounds per day were released from the BP PLC well that fouled the Gulf. The official leak rate officials used during the spill was about 11,350 tons of gas and oil per day.

The agency says the new study combined chemical measurements in the deep ocean, in the oil slick and in the air.

Thomas Ryerson, a NOAA research chemist and lead author of the study, said the new study did not rely on data used in the original estimates, which were based on looking at video of the leaking well, the diameter of the pipe and other calculations of the flowing fluids.

“We analyzed a completely separate set of chemical measurements, which independently led us to a very similar leak estimate,” Ryerson said.

The new study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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