Clair oil spill dispersed and not visible on sea surface, BP says

British oil major BP has informed that the oil spill near the Clair platform west of Shetland has dispersed and can no longer be seen at the sea surface.

To remind, oil in water was released to the sea from the Clair platform, 75 kilometers west of Shetland Islands, on Sunday morning. BP shut the production following the leak. The company said the incident happened as a result of a technical issue with the system designed to separate the mixed production fluids of water, oil and gas.

“BP continues to monitor the area where oil was released to sea from the Clair platform following a technical issue on Sunday with further surveillance flights scheduled today,” a BP spokesperson told Offshore Energy Today on Wednesday.

According to the spokesperson, a total of seven surveillance flights have so far been carried out with the latest data showing no visible signs of oil on the sea surface. This is supported by satellite images of the area and suggests continued rapid and significant natural evaporation and dispersion, BP said.

In addition to continuing aerial surveillance and modeling, once weather conditions allow, BP plans on taking water samples from the area at surface and various depths.

BP said its oil spill and environmental experts were working Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as well as other agencies and Scottish Government, to assess any potential environmental impacts.

“It is considered that the most appropriate response remains to allow the oil to continue to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action have been prepared and are available,” BP told Offshore Energy Today, adding that initial conclusions from its environmental assessment work, which looks at local seabird, cetacean and fish populations, indicates that the impact of the release “is likely to be minimal.”

The company said it was investigating the cause of the technical issue and the field will remain offline for the time being. The most likely volume of oil to sea has been calculated from platform data at around 95 tonnes, BP said. Oil spill modeling, aligned with aerial observations, confirm the release moved in a northerly direction away from land.

Aerial photographs taken on October 2, 2016 at 12:00 UTC (Source: Maritime and Coastguard Agency)

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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