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The oil discharge of more than 2,000 oil barrels from an underwater pipe operated by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico is unlikely to contaminate the shoreline, Shell claimed as the supermajor works to contain the spill amid intensifying environmental pressure.
Last week, Shell shut down four wells feeding to a pipeline leading to the offshore Brutus platform following a spill discovered by a company helicopter that spotted a two-by-thirteen-mile sheen on the water.
Shell then hired contractors to clean the oil spill. Late Sunday about 1,230 barrels of oil and water mixtures had been recovered. No wildlife has been affected by the incident, the company highlighted.
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"The sheen has maintained a westerly trajectory with no shoreline impacts anticipated at this time, and Shell has approval from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to begin repairs at Glider," the company said in a statement.
The spill originated in a pipeline associated with the Glider field where production was halted. The company said the line was isolated and work was under way to ensure there were no additional discharge points. Operations close to the Glider field have since been resumed despite the spill.
Investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement confirmed Shell’s conclusion that the leak originated in an underwater oil facility, but gave no updates on the ongoing joint response operations.
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Environmentalist have expressed mistrust over the handling of this incident and the extent of the potential damage.
“You sit down for dinner and you watch the news and you see another spill with tens of thousands of gallons of oil and reports that no one is hurt or the leak has stopped and you know, just from experience, that that’s probably not true,” said Colette Pichon Battle, executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy.
In 2010, a BP oil drilling site burst, releasing three million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In July 2015, BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines, the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com