Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns
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.