We now assess that up to 50% of the leaked oil has already dissipated due to natural dispersion and evaporation. As satellite pictures have shown, the overall area covered by the sheen is large. However, the sheen itself is very thin (less than a hundredth of a millimeter) in most areas.
Shell’s country chair in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu, once again said how sorry he is that this incident has happened. He went on to outline the actions that SNEPCo is taking:
“We have carried out helicopter flights over the affected area. To accelerate the clean-up at sea, we are deploying vessels with dispersants to break up the oil sheen at sea. We are mobilising airplanes 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.”
With regard to the cause, SNEPCo continue to believe that the leak that occurred on Tuesday December 20 happened during a routine operation to transfer crude oil from Bonga’s floating production, storage and off-loading (FPSO) vessel to a waiting oil tanker.
An export line linking the FPSO to the tanker has been identified as the likely source, and has been closed and de-pressurised, halting the flow of oil. SNEPCo shut in the Bonga facility since 8 am CET 21 December 2011.
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