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USGS reviews Deepwater Horizon research

Dec. 4, 2012 at 8:38 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Peer-reviewed articles on the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico adds to the wealth of knowledge needed to respond to future disasters, the USGS said.

U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said there was a general lack of scientific publications that addressed accidents like the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010. This, she said, was a "significant drawback" in dealing with the incident.

"Although we all hope 'Never again!' will there be an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon, there will always be some risk as we move into deeper water and more difficult environments in our quest for the planet's remaining fossil fuels," she said in a statement.

The USGS said publications released since the accident provides responders and regulators with insights needed should similar incident occur.

"We will not make that mistake again by neglecting to publish for posterity the scientific lessons from this tragedy," said McNutt.

Lessons learned from the disaster relate to a need for oil extraction permits that include a detailed assessment of flow rates. BP, the company seen responsible for the spill, was accused of underreporting the amount of oil that escaped from the Macondo well beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The USGS said "for the most part" oil spilled during the incident was consumed by bacteria. It said the only serious discrepancies were found in the amount of oil dispersed naturally versus how much was dispersed by chemical agents.

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