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Deepwater Horizon Update: The Numbers

Today, oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day.

As I wrote yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard has announced plans to place a cap over the leak well that could capture the entire stream of oil.

According to a CNN report published this evening, the cap could capture up to 80,000 barrels per day of oil, sending it to ships connected at the surface.

Crews are already working to position a vessel capable of containing 53,000 barrels of oil per day.

Lets do the math…

Rate of oil leak: 35,000 – 60,000 barrels per day

Potential rate of oil capture by cap: 80,000 barrels per day

(Rate of leak) – (Rate of capture) =  – 45,000 to -20,000 barrels per day

(a.k.a. we’d have an excess of capture capacity)

Potential rate of oil capture at surface: 53,000 barrels per day (assuming no creative storage techniques such as siphoning oil to nearby ships)

(Rate of leak) – (Rate of capture) = -18,000 to +7,000

(a.k.a. we might capture it all, we might not)

Either way, this new set-up has the potential to vastly improve the situation in the Gulf of Mexico as BP works stopping the flow of oil using relief wells.

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