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Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns

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Posted: Jun 18, 2010 7:13 AM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: crude, well, Gulf of Mexico, natural gas, threat, ecosystem

The crude gushing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the ecosystem.

John Kessler is a Texas A&M University oceanographer.

He says the oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane - compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits.

Scientists say that means huge quantities of the methane have entered the Gulf, potentially suffocating marine life.

Methane is a colorless, odorless and flammable substance that is a major component in the natural gas used to heat people's homes.

A BP spokesman says about 30 million cubic feet of natural gas is burned daily from the leak. But that doesn't account for gas that eludes containment efforts.

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