In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded, causing the single largest marine oil disaster in US history.
While the oil gushed from nearly a mile below the surface, BP promptly began to lowball the daily flow rate.
The US government established the Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) led by Marcia McNutt to determine the true amount of oil being injected into the Gulf of Mexico. The FRTG was composed of scientists from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the US Department of Energy and outside academics.
According to the FRTG, BP’s disaster led to at least 4.9 million barrels of oil being injected into the Gulf of Mexico. BP has challenged this calculation for numerous reasons, including asserting that this figure includes 810,000 barrels that was collected before it could enter the Gulf.
Yet a scientist who is part of the FRTG said early on that even the 4.9 million barrel figure, which means an average of roughly 56,000 barrels per day during the 87 days BP’s oil flowed, could be nearly three times too low.