BP has just announced that it's operation to siphon off and contain some of the oil gushing out of it's broken pipe in the Gulf of Mexico is now successfully capturing 5,000 barrels a day.
But here's the kicker, BP has maintained all along that the TOTAL amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico has been 5,000 barrels a day. They have continuously reassured me and I am sure many other people reporting on the oil spill that their best estimate was 5,000 barrels a day - even when serious questions began to arise as more video footage was released.
You can see here in the live web camera of the broken oil pipe that crude continues to pump into the ocean a disturbingly high rate, with very little abatement from the siphon.
If BP is saying that they are now capturing 5,000 barrels a day with their siphon and this much oil is still pumping into the Gulf of Mexico, exactly how much oil per day has been leaking for the last 3 weeks? 50,000 barrels a day? 75,000? 100,000?
BP's numbers are obviously way off as we have been reporting here on EnergyBoom for quite some time now.
The question of the daily spill rate is very important because it will determine the final liability costs BP will be on the hook for and also the size and scope of the clean-up operation.
Luckily it has just been announced that a "Flow Rate Technical Team," has been established. This multi-agency federal effort will try to determine oil flow rates from the BP spill at multiple time periods following the explosion, fire, and subsequent loss of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Follow Kevin Grandia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kgrandia