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It’s Not Just The Oil

Gulf Gusher symbolMcClatchy reports on the initial findings on the USGS efforts to determine how much oil is gushing out of the Well from Hell: Runaway gulf oil well spewing far more oil than initially thought

Three groups of researchers, assembled by the government after independent observers viewing BP video of the leaking well openly disputed the 5,000-barrel figure, reached similar conclusions that the well was spewing 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day — 504,000 to 1.05 million gallons a day.

[Head of the U.S. Geological Survey, Marcia] McNutt said an accurate appraisal of the leak hadn’t been possible until the last two weeks, when a tube inserted into one of the leaking pipes began drawing oil and gas to the surface. That allowed researchers to determine that 75 percent of what they were seeing on video spewing from the broken pipe was natural gas.

“That’s why we’re now now getting better estimates, because we can correct for the gas phase,” she said. Asked whether the spill has eclipsed the Exxon Valdez, McNutt demurred. “This is obviously a very, very significant environmental disaster and I think with the numbers I’ve given you, you can do the math.”

So we are seeing three gallons, by volume, of methane for every gallon of oil. How peachy that its mostly methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times worse that carbon dioxide, but people can’t see it so it’s not a problem, right?