Recovery of Shell flowline discharge continues while production resumes

Efforts continued on Monday, the fifth day after the incident, to clean up an oil spill from an underwater flow line servicing a Shell rig in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

A team effort involving dozens of personnel from the US Coast Guard (USCG) and Shell is using five on-water recovery vessels to find oil that can be skimmed, the preferred method in this situation for retrieving whatever can be got from the estimated 88,000-gallon spill. Infrared technology and aerial assistance help with the skimming.

As of Monday morning about 51,000 gallons of oily water mixture had been recovered.

The spill occurred at the Gilder Field’s subsea tieback system at Shell’s Brutus platform, creating a miles-long sheen on the water surface. In the immediate aftermath, Shell shut down wells flowing into the line.

The Gilder Field comprises four subsea wells which flow to the Brutus platform.

Production at the nearby Brutus Field, which had also been suspended, has since resumed.

Other agencies and bodies involved in post-spill operations include the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The latter body will employ a seven-person panel to lead the investigation into what caused the leak.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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