A US congressman has accused BP of playing down its concerns about the volume of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Representative Ed Markey, the chairman of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released an undated, internal BP document, which estimates a worst-case scenario oil flow of 100,000 barrels (15.9 million litres) of oil per day.

"Right from the beginning, BP was either lying or grossly incompetent," Markey told NBC's Meet the Press programme.

"First they said it was only 1,000 barrels, then they said it was 5,000 barrels."

The current upper limit of the US government's estimate is 60,000 barrels per day.

Toby Odone, a spokesman for the British-based energy giant, said the worst-case estimate applied only to a situation in which a key piece of equipment called a blowout preventer was removed.

"Since there are no plans to remove the blowout preventer, the number is irrelevant," he said.

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports.

Source: Al Jazeera