Big Oozy Blues Redux

It’s starting to feel like Spring 2010 in Louisiana. And, not in that positive, Saints-championship-afterglow way. Skimmers have been dispatched to the Gulf. Underwater robots are probing oil leaks. On Friday (5.13), new details continued to emerge about a nearly 90,000 gallon oil spill from a Shell pipeline.


In a statement the company said that a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) confirmed that a flow line connecting four subsea platforms to manifold feeding the Brutus platform sprung a leak. Shell estimates that the leak is about 88,200 gallons or 2100 barrels. The company stressed that the issue is not related to “well control,” a not-so-subtle way of assuring the public that their leak is not analogous to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Shell stated that the leak is now under control. However, plenty of damage has already been done.


The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said a 2 mile by 13 mile (about 3 km by 21 km) sheen was visible in the Gulf, just 90 miles south of Port Fourchon.


Five skimmer boats have already been dispatched to the scene of the spill to begin cleanup work. These vessels will assist in removing sheen from the surface of the sea. More measures are necessary and the energy giant announced a joint effort with U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


The Brutus platform and the supporting wells are currently shut down due to the discharge. BSSE inspectors are currently on the rig investigating the incident.


BSSE estimates that since 2012, there have been 147 spills accounting for 516,900 gallons of oil in the Gulf.

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