BP's out-of-control well will go on spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next two years or more if all attempts to contain or plug the gusher fail, oil industry experts said today.
The estimates, based on new figures supplied by BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, during seven contentious hours of testimony to Congress on Thursday, suggest the potential environmental and economic devastation would far outstrip the damage done so far by the ruptured well, which has been spewing for 60 days.
Hayward told a Congressional committee on Thursday the reservoir still held 50m barrels, providing fresh urgency to efforts to contain the oil, or seal off the gusher completely with a relief well.
Using the government's present flow estimates of up to 60,000 barrels a day, BP's well could go on gushing for two to four years, unless it is stopped.
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