A Greenpeace ship is currently hovering around the exclusion zone surrounding the Elgin platform, the site of a large gas leak in the North Sea.
“We want to get our own picture of the environmental damage from the scene.” says Christian Bussau, chief scientist and ocean expert at Greenpeace.
What was not mentioned by the organization is the simple fact that all uncontrolled blowouts are dangerous and cause damage but…
French-based Total has maintained that the leak does not pose a significant environmental threat. However, Greenpeace still wanted to measure any environmental impact related to the incident for themselves. The activist organization has sent out research vessel, Koenigin Juliana, from Germany. Their actions are based on their beliefs that oil companies often try to hide information concerning accidents.
“We can see this thin oil and grease that seems to come from Elgin floating in the water,” said activist Manfred Santen, speaking to Dow Jones Newswires by satellite phone from onboard the Greenpeace vessel.
But a spokesman for Total was quick to respond with another obvious fact: “The only confirmation that we have had [of anything resembling an oil slick] is a sheen of gas condensate,” said the spokesman. He said the gas condensate was a light hydrocarbon–similar to petrol–and was expected to dissipate naturally, either evaporating due to warmer weather or through wave action.
Now just outside a 2-nautical-mile exclusion zone surrounding the platform, the Greenpeace crew is taken air and water samples and “documenting” the damage. Reports from aboard the ship also describe a faint smell of gas in the air, and a definite multi-colored sheen.
Total contends that the sheen will evaporate on its own but, just in case, they have prepared a Hercules military transport plane to spray dispersant over the area’s waters around the platform if necessary.
Greenpeace is currently holding at the edge of the exclusion zone waiting on British authorities’ advisement on whether it is safe to approach the platform.
Hopefully they will be told to leave the response to the professionals.