The release of a report from a federal commission investigating the BP (NYSE:BP) oil spill found the Obama administration made a number of mistakes throughout the ordeal.
One was the estimates proffered by the government which were far less than later estimates. Original oil flow estimates out of the damaged well were from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day, while later estimates were up to 62,000 barrels a day.
On that the report concluded, “By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem. It is possible that inaccurate flow-rate figures may have hindered the subsea efforts to stop and to contain the flow of oil at the wellhead.”
While the report is accurate on its assessment of the oil flowing into the Gulf, it's not clear at all that government estimates of the remaining oil in the Gulf is inaccurate, as followup studies have confirmed much of what they originally said.
There's always going to be the so-called scientists who are going to dispute the amount of oil left in the Gulf because of private agendas and hopes of securing research money.
As far as the effect of the amount of oil being released into the Gulf being understated, the report said it could have disrupted the efforts of BP to stop the flow.
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