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Major leak reported from Shell oil field in Gulf of Mexico

17 May 2016

More than 88,000 gallons of oily-water mixture has been released from the Glider Field, a group of four underwater oil wells located around 97 miles south of Port Fourchon in Louisiana. Shell said it suspected a line connecting these wells to the Brutus platform leaked oil on May 12, creating a 13 mile slick on the surface of the water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stock image
Stock image

The company said it was working to repair a fault in the flowline, that it had deployed vessels to skim the oil from the water and that it did not expect the oil to reach the shoreline.

“The trajectory is in a westerly direction with no shoreline impacts anticipated at this time,” Shell said in a statement. “Skimming continued today using infrared technology with support from aerial resources. Joint efforts have recovered approximately 1,826 barrels, over 76,600 gallons, of oily-water mixture. On-water recovery efforts are ongoing. Shell has mobilized equipment to begin repairs.”

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said it has deployed its “full investigative resources” to identify the cause of the oil spill and any potential improvements needed to underwater infrastructure.

The Brutus platform started operation in 2001. The oil giant has been given permission by the BSEE to resume its operations in the gulf.

The US federal government has tightened up drilling regulations following BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people and the largest oil spill ever.

Last month, the Obama administration outlined further measures to help prevent oil spills and ensure operators put in place back-ups in case something goes wrong. But a US Chemical Safety Board report found neither regulations nor industry practices had improved since the BP spill.


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