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BP: Oil Flow "Might Be a Little More" Than Earlier Estimate

BP says it's collecting about the same amount of oil as it had earlier said was spilling into the Gulf, acknowledging, at least obliquely, that its earlier numbers were off. The company insists there is no reliable way to measure the flow.

Until now, BP hasn't officially updated its 5,000-barrels-a-day estimate of the flow of crude oil into the Gulf. As we've pointed out, the company has said it's too busy trying to stop the spill to measure it. Today, BP made some time to update the public about its effort to siphon up some of the oil that's spewing into the Gulf, announcing that it's now collecting about 5,000 barrels of oil a day through a smaller tube that was inserted into one of two leaks.

In doing so, the company also acknowledged that oil was still spilling into the Gulf, and that earlier estimates were off.

"Now that we are collecting 5,000 barrels a day, it might be a little more than that," BP spokesman Mark Proegler told AFP. "We said from the beginning, our experts have been saying there really is no reliable way to estimate the flow."

Last Friday, BP's managing director, Robert Dudley, disputed scientists' higher spill estimates, telling MSNBC that the estimates were "scare-mongering" and that "five thousand [barrels] is a good estimate." On Saturday, a BP spokesman told the Times that measuring the flow was "not relevant to the response effort."

An undetermined amount of oil is still flowing into the Gulf at this point. A BP spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that the amount has "noticeably declined."

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