Staring day after day at images of oil billowing from an undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico, many Americans are struggling to make sense of the numbers.
On Monday, BP said a cap was capturing 11,000 barrels of oil a day from the well. The official government estimate of the flow rate is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, which means the new device should be capturing the bulk of the oil.
But is it? With no consensus among experts on how much oil is pouring from the wellhead, it is difficult — if not impossible — to assess the containment cap’s effectiveness. BP has stopped trying to calculate a flow rate on its own, referring all questions on that subject to the government...
Which it likely also owns.
Other voices though continue to be natterbobs of negativism
WASHINGTON — BP's runaway Deepwater Horizon well may be spewing what the company once-called its worst case scenario — 100,000 barrels a day, a member of the government panel told McClatchy Monday.
"In the data I've seen, there's nothing inconsistent with BP's worst case scenario," Ira Leifer, an associate researcher at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the government's Flow Rate Technical Group, told McClatchy.
Leifer said that based on satellite data he's examined, the rate of flow from the well has been increasing over time, especially since BP's "top kill" effort failed last month to stanch the flow. The decision last week to sever the well's damaged riser pipe from the its blowout preventer in order to install a "top hat" containment device has increased the flow still more _ far more, Leifer said, than the 20 percent that BP and the Obama administration predicted...
Soon, one expects an approach similar to what has occurred in Iraq.
The One will simply declare victory, turn off the cameras, and send the reporters home.