BP Siphoning 1/5 of Oil; Spill May Have Hit Major Current

Loop current would carry oil to Florida Keys and up coast
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2010 7:28 AM CDT
Updated May 17, 2010 7:53 AM CDT
Veterinarian Erica Miller cleans a Brown Pelican Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Buras, La.    (Charlie Riedel)
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(Newser) – BP is now siphoning more than one-fifth of the oil that has been spewing into the Gulf for almost a month, the company said this morning, as worries escalated that the ooze may have reached a major ocean current that could carry it through the Florida Keys and up the East Coast. BP PLC chief operating officer Doug Suttles said on the Today show that a mile-long tube was funneling a little more than 1,000 barrels—42,000 gallons—of crude a day from a blown well into a tanker ship.

But computer models show the oil may have already seeped into a powerful water stream known as the loop current, which could propel it into the Atlantic Ocean, a researcher told the AP. A boat is being sent later this week to collect samples and learn more. "This can't be passed off as 'it's not going to be a problem,' " says one marine scientist. "This is a very sensitive area. We are concerned with what happens in the Florida Keys."

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