LONDON – Britain’s government has issued an update on Shell’s remedial program for the oil leak from the Gannet field in the UK North Sea.
Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, appointed to oversee the operation, said, “Following the successful closure of the valve by Shell UK on Friday, Shell now plans to continue to secure the pipeline to protect it from the threat of storm or tidal damage.
“Following discussions over the weekend, last night I advised Shell that I am satisfied with their proposals to complete operations to secure with concrete mattresses sections of pipeline that are raised from the sea bed.
“The operation began at first light this [Monday] morning and, weather permitting, is expected to be completed over the next 36 hours.
“Planning is now under way for the safe and timely removal of the gas and oil remaining in the damaged pipeline.
At 08:10 Monday morning, the statement added, surveillance aircraft observed a sheen on the water estimated at 200 x 50 m (656 x 164 ft), with a maximum estimated quantity of 0.002 metric tonnes (0.0022 tons).
The sheen has since dispersed naturally, and was therefore assumed to have been caused by dredging operations 3 km (1.8 mi) from Shell’s ongoing mattress dumping operation. Shell suspended the dredging operation until all the mattresses are in place.
Surveillance using both fixed wing aircraft and satellite continues, with no further sheens noted.