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WASHINGTON -- The federal government now figures that oil dispersants did a better job of breaking up the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico than it first calculated.

A new analysis released Tuesday says the controversial chemicals helped break up about 32 million gallons of oil -- about 16 percent of the spill. That's about twice as much as a federal team figured in August. Scientists say that is mostly due to the unusual method of injecting the chemicals so deep, about a mile down near the busted well.

Study author Bill Lehr of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says injecting the chemicals a mile deep proved to be roughly four times more effective per gallon of oil as spraying the chemical on the ocean's surface.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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