An oil sheen near Shell’s Mars and Ursa platforms that was first sighted on Wednesday has been reported as having broken up and begun to dissipate. There was some initial speculation that the sheen may have been caused as a result of a leak from Shell’s nearby platforms, however, the company has announced repeatedly that it is “very confident” that the sheen was unrelated to its activities in the area.
The sheen, covering an area of 10 miles2, was discovered to be floating between Shell’s Mars and Ursa platforms, situated approximately 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. The two platforms can produce a combined total of 310 000 bpd and 521 million ft3 of gas per day, making them some of the most productive sites in the United States.
A company representative, Kelly op de Weegh, said, “The Gulf of Mexico has a long history of natural occurring seeps, which can on occasion produce sheens.” Earlier announcements by the company claimed that an inspection of Shell assets in the region had revealed no signs of leaks.
The company has also reportedly deployed remote-operating vehicles to monitor the surrounding seabed, a natural seep and several plugged wells, in a bid to discover the source of this most recent “orphan sheen.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley
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