Five times more oil a day than previously believed is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out well of a sunken drilling rig, the Coast Guard said Wednesday, an estimate the oil company trying to contain the massive spill disputes.
A new leak was discovered in the pipes a mile below the ocean's surface. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration experts now estimate that 5,000 barrels a day of oil are spilling into the gulf. Officials had estimated the leak for days at 1,000 barrels a day.
The news came hours after crews tried a test burn on the massive spill to try to slow it from reaching the U.S. shoreline.
Despite the new leak, an official from BP PLC, which leases the rig, said he did not believe the amount of oil spilling into the water is beyond earlier estimates. Doug Suttle, chief operating officer for BP, showed a diagram that plotted the leaks.
"Due to its location, we do not believe this changes the amount currently believed to be released," he said.