That's the high end of the range of assessments of oil pouring out of BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico - 70,000 barrels a day. The low end remains the initial 5,000 barrel a day guess of the US Coast Guard and British Petroleum.
The estimates were increased by some observers based on recent sea bed video showing raw oil belching into the sea. From The Guardian:
"National Public Radio in the United States last night reported that the well is spewing up to 70,000 barrels of oil a day – the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez disaster every four days. Nearly 11 million [gallons] of oil were spilled in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground, oiling beaches and poisoning marine life for generations. NPR said scientific analysis of newly released video footage from the ocean floor suggested the gusher was 12 times more powerful than estimates offered so far by the Coast Guard or BP.
"Its analysis was conducted by Steve Werely, an associate professor at Purdue University, using a technique called particle image velocimetry, a method was accurate to 20%. That puts the range of the oil spill from 56,000 to 84,000 barrels a day."
If Werely's forecast is even remotely accurate, the Deepwater Horizon disaster will stand as a compelling indictment of seabed oil drilling. Here in British Columbia it has grabbed the attention of a lot of people no longer willing to accept Premier Campbell's blithe assurances that it can be done safely.
By the way, while the North American media has come to use the Exxon Valdez disaster as a benchmark, in terms of global oil spills in ranks a paltry 52nd.