Shell’s analysis indicates that the leak from Bonga offshore facility remains offshore and is thinning and breaking up, based on a combination of satellite pictures, photos from aerial surveillance, infra-red cameras and direct observations from vessels.
Following investigation by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), confirmed that a leak did indeed occur in a flexible export line linking the Floating Production Storage and Offtake Vessel (FPSO) to the tanker. The company isolated the line , and the facility remains shut down.
Shell’s country chair in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu, said:
“Since Tuesday, when we became aware of this regrettable leak at our Bonga offshore facility, substantial progress has been made in mitigating the consequences. The sheen has thinned considerably due to a combination of natural factors and dispersant application, and in places is breaking up, all of which should aid further dissipation. Another significant development is that this afternoon we identified the source of the leak as a failure in a flexible export line. Let me express my heartfelt thanks to industry colleagues and government agencies for their ongoing support to mitigate the impact of the leak.”
Five ships have been deployed to apply dispersant and maintain constant surveillance, and will be supported by two aircraft. More equipment and vessels are being mobilized.
“We have brought in additional oil spill response experts and marine life experts to assist in the overall effort.” Shell concluded in its press release.
Offshore Energy Today Staff , December 23, 2011; Image: Shell