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  • The reflection of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, center, and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, right, are seen as they tour the oil impacted marsh of Pass a Loutre, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Oil is seen floating on the water in an oil impacted marsh in Pass a Loutre, La., Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Greenpeace worker Lindsey Allen collects samples of oil that washed up along the mouth of the Mississippi River near Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Protesters from the Greenpeace group are seen on a balcony at the BP headquarters in central London Thursday May 20, 2010. The men climbed on the balcony and attached a flag with the company's altered logo with 'oil' and the words 'British Polluters' alongside it to protest the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
  • Boat captain Preston Morris shows the surface sample of oil he collected from the oil impacted marsh of Pass a Loutre, La. on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • An oil-covered crab is seen on an oil-impacted beach at the mouth of the Mississippi River near Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • An oil-covered crab is seen on an oil-impacted beach at the mouth of the Mississippi River near Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Greenpeace worker Lindsey Allen collects samples of oil that washed up along the mouth of the Mississippi River near Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • A Greenpeace boat is framed by oil-soaked cane near the mouth of the Mississippi River south of Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Oil-soaked cane is seen near the mouth of the Mississippi River south of Venice, La. Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has started drifting ashore along the Louisiana coast. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Oil impacted marshes are seen of Pass a Loutre, La. on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Friday, May 21, 2010

BP concedes Gulf oil spill is bigger than estimate

NEW ORLEANS – BP conceded Thursday that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana’s wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive monthlong spill.

Mark Proegler, a spokesman for oil giant BP PLC, told The Associated Press that a mile-long tube inserted into a leaking pipe over the weekend is capturing 210,000 gallons a day – the total amount the company and the Coast Guard have estimated is gushing into the sea – but some is still escaping. He would not say how much.

Several professors who have watched video of the leak have said they believe the amount spewing out is much higher than official estimates.

Proegler said the 210,000 gallons – 5,000 barrels – has always been just an estimate because there is no way to measure how much is spilling from the seafloor.

“I would encourage people to take a look at the changing amount of oil coming from the ocean floor,” said Steve Rinehart, another BP spokesman. “It’s pretty clear that now that we’re taking 5,000 barrels of oil a day, there’s a significant change in the flow reaching the sea.”

A live video feed of the leak posted online Thursday at the insistence of lawmakers shows what appears to be a large plume of oil and gas still spewing next to the tube that’s carrying some of it to the surface. The House committee website where it was posted promptly crashed because so many people were trying to view it.