BP: Oil Flow Rate Irrelevant to Gulf Response

BP America's chief operating officer Doug Suttles attends a worker health and safety training briefing at the Santa Rosa Island Authority building on Pensacola Beach, Fla. on June 22, 2010. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Katie King) AP Photo/The News Journal

BP America's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, told The Times-Picayune that the massive oil spill's "flow rate has never impacted the response" to what is now the largest environmental catastrophe in the history of the United States.

Suttles, in an interview with the New Orleans paper, said the company "threw everything" at the oil leak as soon as it began two months ago. (BP originally estimated the flow at 1,000 barrels a day; most recently revised to 60,000 barrels a day.)

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

Suttles said knowing exactly how much oil was spewing out is irrelevant to efforts to stop the spill, and anyway that estimating the resulting flow of the Deepwater Horizon explosion is something BP doesn't involve itself with. It is "extraordinarily imprecise and we took a view very early on that we didn't think you could do it and we didn't think it was relevant either," he said.

But as surely as estimates of the flow rate have risen, BP's shares have tumbled. The selloff continued again today in London, which follows the company's announcement that the cost of the oil spill response has risen to $2.35 billion.

More oil has also washed ashore along the Gulf Coast, reminding residents of the frustrations they're facing in the cleanup.

Mississippi is in the line of fire. So is Alabama, where a major slick is hovering four miles from its white sand beaches.

In Louisiana, Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young said BP has "absolutely no credibility" and "they really are not up to the task and we have more bad news than we have good news."

A few weeks ago, on June 8, Suttles said the spill should be reduced to a "relative trickle" in less than a week. The company later said it would take longer for the gusher to reach a trickle.

BP Spill Costs Reach $2.35B
More Oil Washing Ashore

Meanwhile a new threat is developing near Cuba - a tropical disturbance that has chance of developing into a hurricane - CBS News correspondent Kelley Cobiella reports.

A direct hit from a hurricane would wreck containment booms, force cleanup crews off the water and the beach, and delay drilling of the relief wells that are now the only hope to stop the spill. There are even fears hurricane-driven rains could be black with oil.
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