NEW YORK (Commodity Online): The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has today declared that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is heavily leaking crude oil roughly 5000 feet below the surface. The agency maintained that the oil is leaking at the rate of 5000 barrels per day and not 1000 bpd as had been estimated earlier.

Speaking to media, Rear Admiral Mary E Landry of the Coast Guard informed that the new estimate came from observations made in flights over the slick, studying the trajectory of the spill and other variables.

Admiral Landry said President Obama had been notified. She also opened up the possibility that if the government determines that BP, which is responsible for the cleanup, cannot handle the spill with the resources available in the private sector, that Defense Department could become involved to contribute technology.

The oil well owned by BP Plc in the Gulf of Mexico had an explosion and fire on a drilling rig on April 20, which left 11 workers missing. The rig sank two days later about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The US Coast Guards officials maintained that there was an additional breach in the well, which caused the increased oil spillage exceeding the initial estimation of 1000 bpd.

A damaged BP Plc oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of crude a day, five times more than previously estimated, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Officials had previously found two leaks in the riser, the 5,000-foot-long pipe that connected the rig to the wellhead and is now detached and snaking along the sea floor. One leak was at the end of the riser and the other at a kink closer to its source, the wellhead.

The explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southeast of New Orleans last week caused a slick that had drifted within 16 miles of the coast, according to a Coast Guard map released after a press conference yesterday. The spill is about 600 miles in circumference, the Coast Guard said. That's about twice the land area of Maryland.

The oil may reach land for the first time tomorrow in Louisiana, bringing tar balls and mousse-like hunks of emulsified oil later, Charlie Henry, the U.S. government's lead forecaster for the spill.

Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for exploration and production for BP, said a third leak had been discovered Wednesday afternoon even closer to the source. I'm very, very confident this leak is new, he said. He also said the discovery of the new leak had not led them to believe that the total flow from the well was different than it was before the leak was found.

The leaks on the sea floor are being visually gauged from the video feed from the remote vehicles that have been surveying the riser, said Doug Helton, a fisheries biologist who coordinates oil spill responses for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.