Read the Internal Document that Contradicts BP’s Claims on Oil Flow by Sasha Chavkin

by Sasha Chavkin
June 21, 2010

Rep. Ed Markey has been among BP’s toughest critics in Congress following the Deepwater Horizon blowout, accusing it, among other things, of lowballing its estimates of oil flow.

On Sunday, Markey was at it again. As you may have read, the Boston Democrat released an internal BP document that shows that early company estimates for worst-case oil flow scenarios were far higher than the company has ever acknowledged — up to 100,000 barrels per day if all containment mechanisms were to fail. Take a look at the document for yourself.

The document is not dated, but a statement from Rep. Markey that accompanied its release said that BP’s oil flow estimate at the time the document was made available to Congress was 5,000 barrels per day, and its worst-case scenario was 60,000 barrels per day, figures the company provided for much of the month of May.

The 100,000-barrels-per-day scenario contrasts sharply with the company’s public pronouncements at the time.

“I think those estimates of 70,000, with due respect to the experts, don’t match the many, many experts and scientists that are involved in this in a unified way,” Bob Dudley, BP’s managing director and the newly anointed chief of the company’s spill response, said on MSNBC on May 14. “It’s not just a BP estimate … 70,000 feels like a little exaggeration, a little scare-mongering.”

Write to Sasha Chavkin at

© Copyright 2010 Pro Publica Inc.




Markey questions Bush Secretary Kempthorne on Oil Drilling Policy

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Chairman Markey questions former Interior Department Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on policies that led to relaxation of drilling safety oversight during a joint subcommittee meeting of the Oversight & Investigations and Energy & Environment subcommittees of the Energy and Commerce Committee, “The Role of the Interior Department in the Deepwater Horizon Disaster”


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