Did a BP "Fix" Make Oil Flow Worse?

The latest scientific estimate of just how much oil is gushing out calls into serious question the expertise of those managing the spill: BP and the government.

When BP cut the riser pipe 13 days ago, independent scientists said it would increase the amount of oil gushing out, like cutting the kink out of a hose.

Top government officials assured everyone it wasn't much.

"Is there any thought that perhaps the procedure that BP went through to cut off the rise added to the quantity of oil coming out?" asked Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

"The range of increase may have been somewhere between 4 and 5 percent over what it was before," answered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

BP was even more optimistic.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

"The amount of oil will not change," BP Managing Director Bob Dudley said on "Fox News Sunday." "The oil was coming out anyway from just above it at a broken area of the pipe."

But the opposite happened. Cutting the riser was supposed to allow BP to use a containment device capture more oil.

A team of independent scientists analyzed high-resolution video and found it actually made things worse, not better. Now, the scientists say, about 50 percent more oil is coming out than before. Far more than BP has been able to collect.

That means up to 100,000 extra barrels - or 4.2 million extra gallons - has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico since June 3.

BP hopes to soon double that amount of oil it contains. President Obama says it should capture 90 percent in the near future. But it's hard to have faith in the predictions when so many have been proven to be wildly off.

  • Sharyl Attkisson On Twitter»

    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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