About three-quarters of the oil spilled from the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico has disappeared, a top US official said Wednesday.
“The scientists are telling us about 25 percent was not captured or evaporated or taken care of by mother nature,” said Carol Browner, a top energy adviser to President Barack Obama, on the ABC network’s “Good Morning America” programme.
“This is an initial assessment by our scientists in the government and outside the government. We think it’s important to make this available to the public. That’s what we’ll be doing today.”
Browner said the report to be released later Wednesday was “encouraging” but that more cleanup will be needed.
“Mother nature will continue to break it down,” she said. “But some of it may come onshore, as weathered tar balls. And those will be cleaned up. They can be cleaned up. And we will make sure they are cleaned up.”
An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days after an explosion on a BP-leased offshore rig on April 20.
The leak was capped on July 15, and on Wednesday BP said it succeeded in controlling the pressure in the ruptured well through a procedure called a “static kill.”
The New York Times said the report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, indicated that fears that a huge underwater glob of oil would surface at some point to tar Gulf beaches looked increasingly unlikely.
“There?s absolutely no evidence that there?s any significant concentration of oil that?s out there that we haven?t accounted for,”Jane Lubchenco, head of the agency, was quoted as saying.