Two facts about oil spills we’re quickly learning:
- Before Deepwater Horizon, they got little to no coverage.
- The oil company or local government will always tell you the spill is small.
The latest examples is in China, where last week’s reported spill of 10,500 barrels of crude may have been closer to 630,000 barrels, according to a US expert.
Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska marine conservation specialist, told the AP: “It’s enormous. That’s at least as large as the official estimate of the Exxon Valdez disaster.”
“It’s habitual for governments to understate oil spills,” Steiner told a press conference. “But the severity of the discrepancy is unusual here.”
Steiner said his estimates came from the fact the oil storage tank that was destroyed had a capacity of about 90,000 tons and reportedly had just been filled by the tanker.
He said his lower estimate of 60,000 tons came from the rate of oil recovery by thousands of fishing boats dispatched for the cleanup.
“They’ve already collected more oil than the official estimate of the spill size,” he told The Associated Press.
This comes as no surprise for anyone who’s seen the spill. Check out shocking photos –>
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.