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BP Thought Spill Could Be 100-Times Larger Than It Told Congress, According To Internal Document

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NEW ORLEANS - Newly released internal documents show BP PLC estimated 4.2 million gallons of oil a day could gush from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico if all equipment restricting the flow was removed and company models were wrong.

Democratic Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey released the documents Sunday showing BP said in a worst-case scenario the leak could gush between 2.3 million and 4.2 million gallons of oil per day.

The current worst-case estimate of what's leaking is 2.5 million gallons a day.

The documents anticipate a scenario where the blowout preventer and other equipment on the sea floor were removed, which was never done.

BP provided the documents to federal officials in May, and company officials say they have no plans to remove the blowout preventer.

In a press release from the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Markey chairs, the BP estimate is described as up to 100-times larger than their initial claim:

In the document, BP stated: If BOP and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions - the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases) ...

This number is in sharp contrast to BP's initial claim that the leak was just 1,000 barrels a day. At the time this document was made available to Congress, BP claimed the leak was 5,000 barrels a day, and told Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the worst case scenario was be 60,000 barrels a day. This document tells a different story.

Click here for a PDF of the internal document.

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