BP “Oil Spill” was Really an Oil-Methane Gas Spill

Thursday, March 10, 2011
(photo: U.S. Coast Guard)
BP’s broken well last year unleashed not only an enormous amount of oil, but possibly as much as half a million tons of methane gas.
Researchers estimate that up to 40% of the leak was methane, with somewhere between 260,000 to 520,000 tons released deep within the ocean. However, experts don’t know what happened to the gas, or what impact it might have on the marine ecosystem. Methane can feed bacteria and may be toxic to sea life. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane is classified as a greenhouse gas that stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, conflict with those from an earlier study that estimated the amount of gas released was between 190,000 to 260,000 tons.
One of the co-authors of the study, Ian MacDonald, a biological oceanographer at Florida State University, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “When discussing the spill, it has been the tendency of both the government and BP to completely ignore the gas that was released. I think they are responsible legally and ethically.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Methane Gas another Threat from BP Oil Spill (by Kate Spinner, Sarasota Herald-Tribune)


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