BP accused of covering up extent of oil spill

BP has "fallen short" in providing data about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US government has said, in its latest critical letter to the firm.

BP accused of covering up extent of oil spill

BP Plc said some third-party estimates of how much oil is gushing out of a leaking well on the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico were "inaccurate" and it denied a cover-up.

BP has "fallen short" in providing data about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the US government has said, in its latest critical letter to the firm.

The Obama administration said the British energy giant should act in a "transparent manner" and "promptly" make all information public.

The Obama administration asked BP to make public all measurements of the growing leak, air and water quality samples, trajectories of underwater plumes and locations of dispersants.

BP has been estimating that the leak was flowing at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day, but some scientists and the U.S. government have questioned that figure.

"It was only ever meant to be a rough estimate," a spokesman for the British company said on Friday after U.S. lawmakers accused it of concealing the extent of the spill and as TV images showed oil sloshing into Louisiana's marshes..

The officials said that despite claims by BP it was making efforts to keep the public and the government informed, "those efforts, to date, have fallen short in both their scope and effectiveness".

They said it was "imperative that BP promptly" make public all data on the spill.

Obama administration officials last week wrote a letter to BP demanding clarification over its commitment to pay for damages from the spill; the firm said it had already done so.

Another letter at the weekend cast doubt over the effectiveness of BP's latest attempt to siphon oil from the gushing well head.

BP also issued a statement saying a number of methods and variables could be used in calculating the flow. Damage to the end of the pipe had distorted its diameter by about 30 percent, while a drill pipe trapped inside the riser had reduced the flow area by an additional 10 percent, BP noted.

"Thus, some third party estimates of flow, which assume a 19.5 inch diameter, are inaccurate," BP said.

The company also pointed out that data indicated about 50 percent of the plume formed by the leak was natural gas rather than oil.

BP said it was in the process of providing the U.S. government's Flow Rate Technical Team with all requested information.

Delays in getting live a video link of the plume onto the Internet were due to "some simple technical difficulties", the BP spokesman said.

Shares in BP were down 3.4 percent at 511 pence by 1202 GMT, having earlier struck a nine-month low on the back of the cover-up allegations.

Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Mayıs 2010, 16:41
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