Shell deploys ships to clean oil spill off Nigeria

December 22, 2011
Shell is deploying ships and mobilising planes on Thursday to clean up an oil spill at a major field off Nigeria, the company says, with some 40,000 barrels estimated to have leaked into the sea.

Shell is deploying ships and mobilising planes on Thursday to clean up an oil spill at a major field off Nigeria, the company says, with some 40,000 barrels estimated to have leaked into the sea.

The leak that began Tuesday has been stopped, according to Shell, and dispersants are being deployed to clean up the crude spilled at the field some 120 kilometres off Nigeria, Africa's largest producer and an OPEC member.

Production has halted at Shell's Bonga field, which has a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, due to the spill.

Shell has said "less than 40,000 barrels" leaked, while Nigerian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Spilled crude oil floats on the banks of the Niger Delta. Shell is deploying ships and mobilising planes on Thursday to clean up an oil spill at a major field off Nigeria, the company says, with some 40,000 barrels estimated to have leaked into the sea.

The company claimed on Thursday that "up to 50 percent of the leaked oil has already dissipated due to natural dispersion and ," but that figure was impossible to verify independently.

"To accelerate the clean-up at sea, we are deploying vessels with to break up the oil sheen at sea," Shell Nigeria head Mutiu Sunmonu said in a statement.

"We are mobilising that will support the vessels in this operation. We are deploying infra-red equipment to be able to trace the few areas where the sheen may be thicker. That allows for a targeted use of the dispersant.

"Let me also mention that we are currently working with the Nigerian government to inform local communities and fishermen about the situation."

Shell said the leak occurred on Tuesday during a transfer of crude to a waiting tanker.

The likely source of the leak was an export line linking a production vessel to the tanker, Shell said. The line has been closed and de-pressurised, halting the flow of oil, it said.

Nigeria has been producing between 2.0 and 2.4 million barrels per day in recent months. Scores of have occurred in Nigeria, but most have been at onshore sites and their size has often been disputed.

Explore further: Maersk shuts down North Sea oil platform after leak

Related Stories

North Sea oil leak 'reduced to two barrels a day'

August 16, 2011

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that about two barrels of oil a day are still spilling into the North Sea from its Gannet Alpha platform as it struggled to stem a second leak.

Shell divers shut off North Sea oil leak

August 19, 2011

Divers working for oil giant Shell have turned off the valve which has been leaking oil into the North Sea causing the worst spill in the area for a decade, the company said Friday.

China's CNOOC cleaning up after another oil spill

October 16, 2011

Chinese oil giant CNOOC said Sunday it has suspended production at a platform off northeastern China after a ruptured pipe leaked crude into Bohai Bay, in the lastest spill to hit the company.

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

'Carbon sink' detected underneath world's deserts

July 28, 2015

The world's deserts may be storing some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, a new study suggests. Massive aquifers underneath deserts could hold more carbon than all the plants on land, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.