By Silla Brush - 06/12/10 10:22 PM EDT
The Coast Guard told BP to speed up its collection of oil gushing from the well in the Gulf of Mexico, giving the oil giant 48 hours to come up with new plans.
In a letter dated on Friday and made public Saturday, James Watson, rear admiral of the coast guard, said new estimates of the amount of oil gushing into the gulf demand additional containment efforts.
The government doubled its estimates this week of the amount of oil from between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels per day to between 25,000 and 30,000 barrels per day. Millions of gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico and are now washing ashore in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
"It is clear that additional capacity is needed," Watson wrote to BP. "BP must identify in the next 48 hours additional leak containment capacity that could be operationalized and expedited to avoid the continued discharge of oil."
The letter notes that some of BP's proposed containment efforts would take a month to put in place.
"Recognizing the complexity of this challenge, every effort must be expended to speed up the process," Watson wrote.