Shocker: Yellowstone pipeline may have leaked more oil than previously estimated

ExxonMobil cleanup workers clip branches coated with crude oil from a tree along the Yellowstone River near Billings on Friday. After a pipeline spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into the river on July 1, receding floodwaters are revealing more contamination miles downstream from the spill site. AP PHOTO/MATTHEW BROWN

Is anybody really surprised about this news?

Also Friday, Montana environmental regulators said the pipeline may have leaked up to 1,200 barrels of oil into the scenic river. That equals 50,400 gallons and is 20 percent higher than prior estimates from ExxonMobil.

Readers of this blog might remember a post a couple of weeks back where I did my own calculations of how much oil might have leaked out the ruptured Silvertip pipeline based on the information we have from ExxonMobil.

40,000 bbl a day ÷ 24 hours in a day=1,666.66 bbl per hour

1,666.66 bbl per hour ÷ 60 minutes per hour=27.77 bbl per minute

27.77 bbl per minute x 56 minutes= 1,555.55 bbl

So we’re not quite there yet, but something tells me this won’t be the last time we read the phrase “higher than prior estimates from ExxonMobil.” Will we ever know for sure how much oil fouled the Yellowstone? Probably not.