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BP to question USGS head in oil spill case

Oct. 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A key U.S. government figure will be questioned to determine how the amount of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was calculated, court documents show.

A court filing Monday said BP Oil will be allowed 9 hours of a two-day deposition, beginning Wednesday, to question Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey. At issue in the ongoing litigation of the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion and oil spill is how the amount of crude oil, spewed from an undersea well, was calculated, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.

The outcome could help or hurt BP in its effort to challenge the U.S. Justice Department's contention that a record 206 million gallons of oil was discharged by BP's Macondo well, a mile beneath the surface of the water and 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The British oil producer has contended a much smaller amount was spilled but has not offered an estimate. The amount of oil spilled is a factor in determining fines and penalties in the worst offshore oil drilling spill in world history, the newspaper said.

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