Today we expect to finalise our assessment of how best to close the relief valve safely. This has included inspections by divers, with technical support from our diving centre of excellence in Aberdeen, Scotland and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
“Throughout these operations safety remains our first priority,” said Glen Cayley, Technical Director of Shell’s exploration and production activities in Europe, based in Aberdeen .
Key steps Shell is taking today include:
- laying concrete weights , known as rock mattresses, to secure the flowline to the seabed, a standard industry practice.
- continuing to monitor the conditions of the sea which affect the dispersal of the oil, in conjunction with Marine Scotland.
- continuing to undertake surveys of bird and marine life by air surveillance and vessels in the area. At this time these surveys, which include independent bird monitoring, indicate no significant impact on the environment.
We have three vessels on site with dispersants and specialised oil spill response equipment if needed.
However latest estimates indicate that the size of the sea surface affected is approximately 500m by 500m at its widest point. By volume the oil on the surface is estimated to be 0.4 tonnes.
Our calculations indicate that the total maximum volume may be some 660 tonnes (some 4000 barrels maximum) contained in the flowline.