How Much Oil Is Flowing Out Of That Huge Leak In The Gulf? Try 155,000 – 310,000 Barrels Per Day

Posted by politicalpartypooper on June 26, 2010

It’s time for some math.  We’ve been hearing for two  months about how hard it is to accurately calculate how much oil was flowing out of the gaping twenty-four inch pipe at the bottom of the Deepwater Horizon oil well.  First, some knowns:

1. The pipe spewing the oil has a twenty-four inch inside diameter.

2.  A forty-five gallon barrel of oil typically has an eighteen inch diameter, and is thirty-six inches (three feet) in height.

3.  If the oil was traveling at 3 mph out of an eighteen inch pipe (instead of the actual 24″ dia.), it would fill up one-and-a-half barrels of oil per second.  Because the actual pipe is six inches in diameter larger, there is approximately one-third of a barrel filled additionally per second.  I picked 3 mph because it is an adult’s average walking speed, and you can get a feel for how fast that is.  In other words, at a very slow rate of travel, that twenty-four inch pipe is spilling at least 1.8 barrels of oil per second.

4.  Based on the HD camera view of the pipe and the escaping oil, I am assuming that the oil is traveling at least twice the speed of an adult’s average gait.  That would be 6 mph.

Let’s calculate, shall we?  At a rate of 3 mph, or, 1.8 barrels of oil per second, the Deepwater Horizon pipe is spilling 155,520 barrels of oil per day, when unhindered, which it was for at least fifty days. That’s 7,776,000 barrels, or 349,920,000 gallons of oil.  Remember, that’s at a flow rate of 3 mph, or 4.4 feet per second.

At twice that rate, which is in my estimation, a conservative assumption, the amount of oil being leaked into the gulf is 311,040 barrels per day, using 45-gallon barrels.  In fifty days, the site would have spilled 15,552,000 barrels, or 699,840,000 gallons of oil.  That’s 7,290,000 tank trucks (9600 gallon tanks).  The flow rate would be 6 mph, or 8.8 feet per second.

This is a simple calculation that anyone can do.  It takes into account a conservative flow rate, and my target was to find the least possible amount of oil flowing.  At a walk (average adult’s walking pace), the oil would be traveling four feet per second out of the pipe.  That’s not what we see on camera.  We see at least twice that rate when the “tophat” is not installed.

So BP and our Federal Government have been telling us for two months that there is no way they can calculate the flow rate leaking into the gulf.  But I just calculated what I consider to be a conservative estimate of the minimum flow rate…which, as you have probably already said to yourself, our government certainly COULD have calculated, and told us.  This is the same government that forty years ago sent men to the moon.  The idea that they cannot calculate the minimum flow rate out of the huge, twenty-four inch pipe is ludicrous.  We, you and me, are being lied to.     Ω


One Response to “How Much Oil Is Flowing Out Of That Huge Leak In The Gulf? Try 155,000 – 310,000 Barrels Per Day”

  1. Juliet said

    Hey PPP, just popping over from BC.com to thank you for your comments on the Feingold string. While I’m here, the government had access to high res video of the wellhead immediately after the accident. Of course they’ve known all along how bad it is. They’ve been waiting for time to pass and for interest to wain. Looks like they’ve succeeded.

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