Today, Shell divers closed the relief valve from which oil had been seeping at a rate of less than one barrel a day. Now there will be a phase of monitoring the flowline to check that it remains sealed.
“Closing the valve is a key step,” said Glen Cayley, Technical Director of Shell’s exploration and production activities in Europe, based in Aberdeen. “ It was a careful and complex operation conducted by skilled divers, with support from our technical teams onshore. But we will be watching the line closely over the next 24 hours and beyond.”
“Our next task is to remove the residual oil from inside the depressurized flowline, and that will take time,” Mr Cayley said.
Meanwhile,to secure the flowline to the seabed, 24 concrete mats have now been laid. More will be put down in the coming days.
We have three vessels on site with dispersants and specialised oil spill response equipment if needed.
Around 218 tonnes of oil have entered the North Sea from the flowline since the problem was first detected on 10 August.
The Marine Coastguard’s latest estimate is that the sheen currently covers an area of 6.7 square kms and is 3.62 tonnes by volume.
Shell has set up an investigation team to establish the cause of the leak. We will also co-operate with government authorities as they conduct their own investigations, including supplying them with pipeline integrity reports and other information.
We are continuing to monitor the conditions of the sea which affect the dispersal of the oil, in conjunction with Marine Scotland, and to undertake surveys of bird and marine life by air surveillance and vessels in the area. These surveys, which include independent bird monitoring, have indicated no significant impact on the environment.