Shell scrambles to clean Nigeria oil spill

Posted: 12/23/2011 in all marine news

gCaptain – 

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) is sending ships and planes loaded with chemical dispersants in an effort to clean up as much as 40,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Guinea, the head of the company’s Nigerian operations said Thursday.

Shell said production at the 200,000 barrel a day Bonga field offshore Nigeria has now been completely halted after a leak occurred Tuesday during a tanker loading operation, resulting in what may be the country’s worst oil spill in more than a decade.

“To accelerate the clean-up at sea, we are deploying vessels with dispersants to break up the oil sheen at sea.

We are mobilizing airplanes that will support the vessels in this operation,” said Shell Nigeria Chairman Sunmonu.

The company said that “up to 50% of the leaked oil has already dissipated due to natural dispersion and evaporation,” but this hasn’t been independently verified. Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum

Resources and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency weren’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Dow Jones Nigeria.

Shell said it believes the leak occurred during a routine operation to transfer crude oil from Bonga’s floating production, storage and off-loading vessel to a waiting oil tanker.

An export line connecting the vessel to the tanker was closed off and the oil flow halted.

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