Professor: Spill flow may be higher than estimates

A brown pelican covered in oil sits on the beach at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon has affected wildlife throughout the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

June 8, 2010 11:29:13 AM PDT
A member of the team trying to determine how much oil is gushing from BP's broken wellhead says the ultimate figure could be higher than current estimates. University of Texas engineering professor Paul Bommer said Tuesday that the latest numbers are reasonable but that "we will probably have some numbers that bounce."

He couldn't say how likely it was that the numbers would be a lot higher but says the cap BP is using has made a "dent" in reducing the flow.

He declined to release any numbers the team is working on.

Officials have said the flow rate increased after crews recently cut a damaged pipe to fit a containment cap over it.

They recently estimated that the cap is collecting a third to three-quarters of the oil spewing out.