Radio Actuality

Flow Rate Group Provides Preliminary Best Estimate of Oil Flowing from BP Oil Well


USGS Director Dr. Marcia McNutt today announced that the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) has developed an independent, preliminary estimate of the amount of oil flowing from BP’s leaking oil well.

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In making the announcement, Dr. McNutt, who is the chair of the FRTG, established by Admiral Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander, emphasized that since day one, the Administration’s deployments of resources and tactics in response to the BP oil spill have been based on a worst-case, catastrophic scenario, and have not been contained by flow rate estimates.

It's important to understand that since the beginning of this incident the administration's deployment of resources and tactics in response to the oil spill have been based on a worst case catastrophic scenario.  We've not been constrained by flow-rate estimates.  The scale of the response would have been the same regardless if it were a thousand barrels a day or a hundred times that.  We've made an all-out response, all hands on deck and all possible resources are being made available.

Based on three separate methodologies, outlined below, the independent analysis of the Flow Rate Technical Group has determined that the overall best initial estimate for the lower and upper boundaries of flow rates of oil is in the range of 12,000 and 19,000 barrels per day. 
Three methodologies that I have cited today suggest that a lower bound on the flow is 12,000 barrels per day and two methodologies used by the Flow Rate Technical Group suggest that the flow rate could be as much as 19,000 barrels per day.  I want to emphasize that these numbers are preliminary based on new methodologies being employed to understand a highly dynamic and complex situation.  As we get more data and improve our scientific modeling in the coming days and weeks ahead, we will continue to refine and update our estimates.