Deepwater Horizon disaster: it could get much, much worse

Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher (Brian Raines, al.com/Mobile Press-Register)

"The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought." [...]

The
worst-case scenario
for the broken and leaking well pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead and kinked piping currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons -- per day.

If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate.

"Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that's under control. I have
no idea what an uncontrolled release could be," said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University.

I'm not usually the praying sort, but I'm going to make an exception now.
Tags: 
How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.