Response Continues to Offshore Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico; Skimming Operations Concluded

shell oil spill response
Vessels conduct skimming operations in response to an esitmated 88,200 gallons of crude oil discharged from a segment of flow line at the Glider Field approximately 90 miles south of Timbalier Island, Louisiana, May 14, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard and Shell are continuing their response to the release of some 88,200 gallons of crude oil from a subsea flow line into the Gulf of Mexico approximately 90 miles off the Louisiana coast.

Recovery methods have focussed on skimming and have involved five on-water recovery vessels, which together have recovered more than 51,000 gallons of oily-water mixture, the Coast Guard reported Sunday (update below with figures as of Monday). 

Shell still estimates that some 88,200 gallons (2,100 barrels) of crude oil was released Thursday at approximately 11 a.m. from a subsea flow line at Shell’s Glider Field, consisting of four subsea wells located in Green Canyon Block 248. Production of the wells flow through subsea flow lines to Shell’s Brutus tension leg platform, located in 2,900 of water. All production to the Brutus platform was shut-in following the incident and the source of the release was secured. The oil spill was not the result of a well control incident. 

Shell reported Sunday that production from the Brutus field had resumed, while Glider and other subsea tieback fields remained shut-in.

As of Sunday’s update, the sheen continued its westerly trajectory with no shoreline impacts anticipated. There have been no reported impacts to wildlife.

More than 130 personnel have been involved in the response effort so far.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) remains involved and is leading an investigation to determine the cause of the release.

Update: The U.S. Coast Guard reported late Monday that response crew had completed skimming operations due to no more visible recoverable oil observed by either aerial or surface assets. Clean-up crews had recovered more than 84,000 gallons of oily-water mixture as of Monday. One vessel is remaining on scene that will be assessing the environmental impact of the oil released.