The article has been amended to include statements by BP and WWF Scotland.
British oil firm BP has shut down production from its Clair offshore platform located West of Shetland.
In a statement sent to Offshore Energy Today, BP confirmed that “a quantity of oil in water was released to the sea from the Clair platform,” on Sunday, October 2, at approximately 10 a.m.
BP 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.
“The release was stopped within an hour once the issue had been identified and Clair production was taken offline. We are investigating the cause of the technical issue and the field will remain offline until the investigation is concluded,” BP said.
Oil spill and environmental experts from BP, Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have been working together to assess any potential environmental impacts and to agree the best way to respond, the company explained.
“At present, we believe the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared,” said BP in the e-mail-
BP has observed oil on the sea surface and is monitoring its movement. Both direct observation and oil spill modeling indicate the oil to be moving in a northerly direction away from land. The total oil in water volume that was released has yet to be accurately assessed and work to determine this is ongoing.
In a statement sent to Offshore Energy Today, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It’s disappointing BP have been unable to provide an estimate of the amount of oil spilled yet feel able to say they are happy to leave it to disperse naturally.”
“In the interests of protecting their staff and the marine environment, serious questions need asked about how this spill occurred. Until those questions are answered the platform should remain out of operation.”
The Clair field is located some 75 kilometers West of the Shetland Islands in some 150m water depth.
Offshore Energy Today Staff