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BP has always claimed that it shared all information with the public and with the federal government about the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the rate of flow of the leaking oil. BP has stated that it never knew of the true quantity of oil escaping the well until a few months after the blowout, however emails that are soon to be released seem to suggest otherwise.
Former BP engineer Kurt Mix is being charged by federal prosecutors with obstructing the law. They believe that he deleted thousands of emails and text messages tied to the company’s efforts to measure the size of the underwater leak.
The emails that Mix’s lawyer is set to release in February will supposedly prove his innocence by showing that he deleted nothing, and at the same time show that BP in fact knew about the size of the flow rate long before they advised the US authorities. BP always claimed that they didn’t learn of the spills full extent until after April, when in fact they knew almost immediately.
The emails show that just two days after the explosion occurred Mix sent in an estimation of the flow rate to his supervisor of between 62,000 and 146,000 barrels a day. BP executives told the coast guard that their best estimates held the leak at 1,000 barrels a day.
Then in May an executive at a Norwegian energy consulting firm analysed the videos and suggested that “it can be ruled out that the flow at seabed is in the order of 40,000.” BP’s current chief executive, Bob Dudley, then decided to state on MSNBC that the new flow rate estimates were around 5,000 barrels a day. Still way below the estimates supplied to BP’s management.
If BP is indeed found guilty of deceiving the federal prosecutors, then they could find themselves with a much heftier fine than before.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com