Shell Reports ‘Light Sheen’ In Gulf Of Mexico, Dispatches ‘Louisiana Responder’

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April 11, 2012

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA, RDSA.LN) is reporting a “light sheen” in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico but says it has no “current indication” that oil is coming from nearby wells.

Shell says it has dispatched an oil-spill response vessel to the location, between the Mars and Ursa production areas, and has requested flights to monitor the one-by-10-mile sheen with aerial surveillance. Shell has no indication what the sheen may be comprised of, company spokeswoman Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said.

“The source and type of sheen is currently unknown,” said op de Weegh.

Shell facilities in the Gulf of Mexico include platforms in the Mars and Ursa areas, both of which are about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, according to the company’s website. The oil and natural gas produced in the fields are transported to shore via pipelines.

Shell says it notified the National Response Center Wednesday and is acting out of “prudent caution.”

Lt. Matt Kor of U.S. Coast Guard District 8, based in New Orleans, told Dow Jones Newswires that the district wasn’t yet aware of the sheen. “We haven’t seen any reports coming across the board,” Kor said.

Shell said the oil-spill response vessel it dispatched, the Louisiana Responder, is equipped with skimming and boom capabilities.

“Shell’s priority is to respond proactively, safely and in close coordination with the regulatory agencies,” the company said in a statement.

Nearly two years ago, a drilling rig known as the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

-By Tennille Tracy and Ben Lefebvre, Dow Jones Newswires

Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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