Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Offshore Oil Leak this Time from Shell

There has been another offshore oil spill, this time it is in the Gannet field of the North Sea. The Gannet field is co-owned with Exxon and operated by Shell. A leak in the platform flow line operated by a British subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell has already dumped 110 tons of oil into the water, and there is an oil slick about 20 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. So far there is no indication that the leak has been fully stopped.
In an email statement, oil campaigner Ben Ayliffe said "North Sea [offshore oil] is supposed to be ultra-safe, we're told spills can't happen there." In 1988, 167 workers on the Piper Alpha, a platform owned by Occidental Petroleum, were killed in the North Sea. Last year’s BP Deepwater Horizon disaster spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell announced the spill on Friday, August 12, but according to their press release the company had been trying to control the leak since at least Wednesday, August 10.

Shell has not been forthcoming in reporting details of the leak and environmental organizations like Greenpeace want the company to disclose more information so that contingency and clean-up plans can be formulated.

For its part Shell does not appear to be mounting a cleanup. In an online statement Shell said, “our current expectation is it will be naturally dispersed through wave action and will not reach shore.”

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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