Friday, May 13, 2016

More than 2,000 barrels of oil spilled in Gulf of Mexico

More than 2,000 barrels of oil were released into the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico about 97 miles from the southern tip of Louisiana, Shell said.

Shell said it observed oil sheen near its production facilities in the Green Canyon oil reserve area in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell is working there on operations at its Glider oil field. The company said it isolated the incident and closed down production after observing the sheen.

"At this time, Shell estimates that 2,100 barrels of oil were released," the company said in a statement.

Federal regulators with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are on scene examining the incident tied to the Brutus oil platform, leased by Shell for the activities in waters that are 2,900 feet deep. The BSEE said it was able to confirm Shell's release estimate, adding no injuries were reported and no personnel have been evacuated from the rig.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the oil was released from a subsea pipeline. In a statement, the Coast Guard said Shell contracted two independent parties to start clean up and containment operations.

Shell said there were no drilling activities underway at the Brutus platform at the time of the release, stressing it was not associated with a well control incident.

The release comes nearly a month after the BSEE released new rules aimed at preventing loss of life and environmental harm resulting from a potential failure at an offshore well. Those new rules came almost six years to the day after the disaster at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last year, the Interior Department proposed dozens of new rules for offshore drilling equipment in order to ensure the series of failures that led to the 2010 rig disaster and subsequent oil spill won't happen again.

The final rules are sweeping in scope, focusing on everything from well control operations to cementing operations of offshore wells.

BP released 3.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 following the string of failures that led to the collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The incident left 11 rig workers dead and resulted in one of the worst environmental disasters for the industry.

Several failures at the Macondo well beneath the Deepwater Horizon triggered what the industry calls a blowout.

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