NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The oil slicks created by the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico are creating the most visible environmental damage, but scientists warn that the natural gas being emitted is also a serious threat.
A Texas A&M oceanographer says huge quantities of methane from the spill have entered the Gulf and could create "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing can live.
John Kessler says the oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane - compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits.
Methane is a colorless, odorless and flammable substance that is a major component in the natural gas used to heat people's homes.
BP shares rose in London today now that the company is setting up a $20 billion compensation fund.