The five million barrels of oil that have flowed from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well since rupturing on April 20 now represents the largest “accidental release of oil” in history, according to the New York Times, out-polluting the Ixtoc 1, the Mexican rig that collapsed in June 1979.
From the New York Times:
“Federal science and engineering teams estimated that 53,000 barrels of oil per day were pouring from the well just before BP was able to cap it on July 15. They also estimated that the daily flow rate had lessened over time, starting at around 62,000 barrels a day and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted.
The teams believe that the estimates are accurate to within 10 percent. They also reported that of the roughly 4.9 million barrels that had been released from the well, about 800,000 had been captured by BP’s previous containment efforts. That leaves over four million barrels that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico between April 20 and July 15.”