Gulf spill may have been somewhat bigger than feds, BP estimated

Independent analysis used new technique developed for hydrothermal vents

By Janet Raloff, 11:38 AM September 23, 2010

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On September 19, petroleum engineers finally — and conclusively — plugged the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. But before a temporary cap shut off the flow two months earlier, a new analysis estimates that some 4.4 million barrels of oil were released into the water — not counting about 800,000 barrels that were recovered as soon as they emerged.

This figure, the first independent estimate to appear in a peer-reviewed journal, exceeds slightly the 4.1-million-barrel calculatio...

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