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Give or Take

BP spokesman Giles Unctuous dismissed rising estimates of the size of the oil spill now contaminating the Gulf of Mexico in a press conference today. “No, no…still 5,000. Very small spill. Itsy bitsy. Yeah, we got this.”

Smarting from accusations that it deliberately misrepresented the size of the spill, BP’s public relations department held the press conference to reassure the public that no deliberate deception took place and that cleanup efforts had not been delayed by inaccurate estimates. BP had originally claimed an upper limit of 5,000 barrels a day as the rate of oil spillage, and held to that figure even as independent studies suggested estimates of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day were more accurate, though BP executives eventually admitted first that 20,000 barrels could be the correct figure. The company now acknowledges that more recent estimates of 40,000 barrels per day may be accurate, and would not rule out a figure as high as 65,000. But Unctuous insists BP offered no legally actionable deceit.

“I mean, you gotta understand there’s a certain margin of error in these things. This oil is all over the place. Miles and miles and miles of ocean. It’s really hard to measure it, and we’re really, really busy. So when you rely on a bunch of environmental activist scientists eager to destroy jobs in the region, of course you’ll get some errors. But no, really: the spill is about five thousand barrels a day, give or take 35,000. We think of this as good news. Look, if there’s a margin of error of 35,000 barrels, then hey—maybe our estimate is 35,000 barrels a day too high. Did you think of that? Maybe we’re leaking negative thirty thousand barrels a day, removing that much pollutant from the Gulf every day. And that’d make us awesome.”

“P-kow,” he added, winking and pointing index fingers, pistol-style, at reporters.

Unctuous went on to add that the spill should be cleaned up by Thursday, give or take three decades, and to reassure stockholders that BP assets had actually risen by nearly $280 million since the start of the crisis, give or take $500 billion.

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