Amount of spilling oil could escalate, company admits

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON — In a closed-door briefing for members of Congress, a senior BP executive conceded Tuesday that the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico could conceivably spill as much as 60,000 barrels a day of oil, more than 10 times the estimate of the current flow.

The scope of the problem has grown drastically since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the gulf. Now, the discussion with BP on Capitol Hill is certain to intensify pressure on the company, which is facing a crisis similar to what the Toyota Motor Company had with uncontrolled acceleration — despite its efforts to control the damage to its reputation as a corporate citizen, the problem may be worsening.

Amid growing uncertainty about the extent of the leak, and when it might be stanched, pressure on BP intensified on multiple fronts Tuesday, from increasingly frustrated residents of the Gulf Coast to federal, state and local officials demanding more from the company.