BP document downplays possible rig accident

MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER — British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at an offshore rig that exploded, causing the worst US oil spill in decades along the Gulf Coast and endangering shoreline habitat.
In the 52-page exploration plan and environmental impact analysis, BP repeatedly suggested it was unlikely, or virtually impossible, for an accident to occur that would lead to a giant crude oil spill and serious damage to beaches, fish, mammals and fisheries.
At least 1.6 million gallons (6 million liters) of oil have spilled so far, according to Coast Guard estimates. Some experts said Friday the volume of oil leaking from the well could actually be much higher than that and that even more may escape if the remaining drill equipment erodes further.