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Fresh trouble for BP

A Codepink activist  lies on the sidewalk during a staged demonstration outside BP's corporate headquarters in Houston
A Codepink activist lies on the sidewalk during a staged demonstration outside BP's corporate headquarters in Houston Reuters
2 min

As the worst environmental disaster in US history stretches past the two-month mark, an internal BP document suggests that as many as 100,000 barrels of oil could be gushing into the sea every day. That's 20 times more than the oil giant's early public estimates.

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BP has denied that so much oil is escaping. US government estimates now put the leak at between 30,000 to 65,000 barrels a day.

Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting that a rig worker identified a leak in the Deepwater Horizon's safety equipment long before the 20 April explosion.

Tyrone Benton told the BBC that instead of fixing the leak, rig owners Transocean shut down the malfuntioning device and relied on a second one, known as a blowout preventer (BOP).

Designed to thwart disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that caused the current spill, a BOP and its control pod are crucial parts of the safety equipment on an oil rig.

It is not yet known whether the leaking pod was turned back on before the accident. But the Deepwater Horizon's BOP failed on 20 April.

The employee told the BBC that repairing it would have necessitated a temporary halt to drilling.

In a Monday statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company announced it had already spent two billion dollars (1.6 billion euros) on the Gulf spill.

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