Shell working to repair leak that spilled 2,000 barrels of oil into Gulf of Mexico

Thursday leak created a 13 mile-wide slick on the surface of the water, from group of underwater oil wells 97 miles south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana

Shell has said it has begun work to repair a fault in a flowline that has resulted in around 2,000 barrels worth of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

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. The company said it suspects a line connecting these wells to a Shell platform leaked oil on Thursday, creating a 13 mile-wide slick on the surface of the water.

Shell said the oil is not expected to reach the shoreline and that no fisheries have been closed. The company said vessels and aircraft have been deployed to mop up the spill.

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

Shell’s platform, called Brutus, 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 the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people, as well as the coating of thousands of seabirds and marine animals in oil.

Last month, the Obama administration outlined further measures to help prevent “blowouts” that result in oil spells, as well as requirements for operators to put in place several back-ups in case something goes wrong.

However, there have been criticism of government and oil industry response to the 2010 disaster. A US Chemical Safety Board report released last month found regulations nor industry practices have improved since the BP spill.

“The last thing the Gulf of Mexico needs is another oil spill,” said Vicky Wyatt, a Greenpeace campaigner. “The oil and gas industry’s business-as-usual mentality devastates communities, the environment, and our climate. Make no mistake, the more fossil fuel infrastructure we have, the more spills and leaks we’ll see. It’s past time to keep it in the ground for good.”


Oliver Milman in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Oil firms to pour extra 7m barrels per day into markets, data shows
Projected production surge in next 12 years to be led by Shell despite climate crisis

Jonathan Watts, Jillian Ambrose and Adam Vaughan

10, Oct, 2019 @11:00 AM

Article image
MPs spell out risks to Arctic if Shell restarts oil drilling | Letter from Joan Walley MP
Letter: The particular spill risks from drilling in the Arctic require a strong precautionary principle approach to drilling regulation


26, Mar, 2015 @7:39 PM

Article image
Alaska divided as Shell halts Arctic drilling: heartbreaking news or a miracle?
Villagers depending on marine life in the area see a burden lifted, while a state representative bemoans a lost chance at ‘another economic boom’

Julia O'Malley

29, Sep, 2015 @5:19 PM

Article image
Scale of BP oil leak revised up to 40,000 barrels a day
Scientists this week doubled the official estimate of the size of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with more than 40,000 barrels of oil feared to be leaking from the seabed every day

Tim Webb

11, Jun, 2010 @11:14 PM

Article image
Deepwater Horizon: US bans new drilling in Gulf of Mexico
Louisiana declares state of emergency as high winds push oil spill from wrecked rig towards mouth of Mississippi

Adam Gabbatt, Chris McGreal in Washington, and Terry Macalister

30, Apr, 2010 @3:17 PM

Article image
Ogoni king: Shell oil is killing my people
King Emere was in a London court last week for the case that he hopes will allow him to sue Shell in the UK for polluting his tribal land

John Vidal

03, Dec, 2016 @7:45 PM

Article image
Gulf of Mexico oil spill: BP loses bid to make others pay compensation

Judge rules contractors Transocean and Halliburton are not liable for compensation but they still face fines and lawsuits

Staff and agencies

27, Jan, 2012 @2:18 AM

Article image
Nigerians can bring claims against Shell in UK, supreme court rules
Ogale and Bille villagers say Shell oil operations have caused severe pollution including to their drinking water

Sandra Laville and Emmanuel Akinwotu in Lagos

12, Feb, 2021 @12:55 PM

Article image
Nigerians could see justice over Shell oil spills after six decades
A landmark legal case is laying the groundwork for communities to sue parent companies for the damages of their subsidiaries

Maggie Andresen in Okogbe-Ahoada, Nigeria, for Floodlight

29, Sep, 2021 @10:15 AM

Article image
Barack Obama orders six-month freeze on offshore drilling and expansion
President admits he was wrong to believe oil companies were prepared to deal with catastrophic spill

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent

28, May, 2010 @12:28 AM