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Sandia researcher calculates likely discharge of 4.9-5.8 million barrels of oil from Deepwater Horizon well

Stewart K. Griffiths from Sandia National Laboratories reports in a paper accepted for publication in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology that the likely total discharge from the BP Macondo Prospect well (MC252) during the Deepwater Horizon accident was in the range of 4.9 to 5.8 million barrels. Minimum and maximum credible values of this discharge are 4.6 and 6.2 million barrels.

Calculated cumulative and net oil discharged from MC252. Cumulative discharge over the 86 days is 5.4 mmstb. Net release to the Gulf of Mexico is 4.6 mmstb. Credit: ACS, Griffiths 2012. Click to enlarge.

Griffiths calculated oil flow rates and cumulative discharge using a physically-based model along with wellhead pressures measured at the blowout preventer (BOP) over the 86-day period following the Deepwater Horizon accident. Parameters appearing in the model were determined empirically from pressures measured during well shut-in and from pressures and flow rates measured the preceding day.

According to Griffiths, this methodology rigorously accounts for ill-characterized evolution of the marine riser, installation and removal of collection caps, and any erosion at the wellhead.

The calculated initial flow rate was 67,100 stock-tank barrels per day (stbd), which decays to 54,400 stbd just prior to installation of the capping stack and subsequent shut-in.


  • Stewart K Griffiths (2012) Oil Release from Macondo Well MC252 Following the Deepwater Horizon Accident. Environmental Science & Technology doi: 10.1021/es204569t



What could possibly go wrong?


Now I can get on with my life.


Not so sure if eye-less deformed shrimps and fishes are better?

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