A NYT article this morning reaffirms the continuing harm of not knowing how much oil is discharging from Deepwater Horizon, though with blame put oddly on BP:
Rate of Oil Leak Still Not Clear, Puts Doubt on BP: “On Monday, BP said a cap was capturing 11,000 barrels of oil a day from the well. The official government estimate of the flow rate is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, which means the new device should be capturing the bulk of the oil. But is it? With no consensus among experts on how much oil is pouring from the wellhead, it is difficult — if not impossible — to assess the containment cap’s effectiveness. BP has stopped trying to calculate a flow rate on its own, referring all questions on that subject to the government. The company’s liability will ultimately be determined in part by how many barrels of oil are spilled.”
Certainly BP is acting to serve its own interests and is not being at all helpful. But what about the official government estimate? I advocate for a different close to the headline: “Puts Doubt on BP and FRTG”. For while it is wonderful that BP is managing to capture over twice as much oil per day as they claimed was being discharged, FRTG by publicly releasing what is a minimum to the flow while calling it the “best estimate” should share blame for this debacle. And so finally the national press is bringing some of the nuance to the forefront:
“In fact, a subgroup that analyzed the plume emerging at the wellhead could offer no upper bound for its flow estimate, and could come up with only a rough idea of the lower bound, which it pegged at 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day.”
Later in the story, the focus turns to the White House:
“I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar,” Mr. Obama told the show’s host, Matt Lauer, in an interview in Kalamazoo, Mich. “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answer so I know whose ass to kick.”
We are being misled, not just by BP, but by the way in which FRTG is reporting its results. And so don’t forget to kick some ass of the government handlers of the FRTG. For starters why is MMS represented? How about some independence not just from BP but from the governmental entity that was asleep at the wheel?