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U.S. Scientists Say Up To 40,000 Barrels Daily Could Have Flowed From Gulf Well

A gull coated in heavy oil struggles in the surf on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana.
U.S. scientists have released new estimates saying as much as 40,000 barrels of oil per day could have been flowing out of the broken BP well at the bottom of the Gulf Of Mexico.

The estimates are considerably higher than estimates released by scientists last month saying that 12,000-19,000 barrels of oil were likely leaking from the well each day since an April 20 rig explosion.

The new estimates were announced on June 10 by Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey and the head of a team of scientists that has been assessing the rate of the oil leak.

BP cut a part of the leaking pipe on June 3 and has been able to attach a containment device that has been catching some of the leaking oil.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing the response to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, said the containment device captured more than 15,000 barrels on June 9.

In another development, U.S. officials have asked top officials of BP to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the spill on June 16.

U.S. officials have said they intend to hold BP responsible for all costs connected to the disaster, including plugging the leak and cleaning up the massive oil slick.

compiled from agency reports