According to a recent article from Dow Jones & Company, Houston based Shell is stating that an oil sheen found in the Gulf of Mexico is not from two nearby oil and gas platforms owned by the oil giant. Shell spokesperson Ms. Weegh said “A thorough inspection to date of Shell assets reveals operations in the area are normal with no signs of leaks.” According to a filing with the National Response Center on Wednesday, a five-square-mile oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico was spotted by Shell. Shell also said later that day that a 10-square mile layer of an unknown substance was floating between its Mars and Ursa platforms. The Mars and Ursa rigs are two of the largest producing facilities in the United States Gulf. They are located about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. In September 2005, Mars was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina, but restarted service in mid-2006.
Shell claims it confirmed there are “no well control issues” associated with its drilling operations in the area. The company is still investigating the sheen, which is estimated to measure the equivalent of six barrels of oil. Shell has also deployed remote-operating vehicles to inspect local infrastructure, and also look for naturally occurring seeps. The U.S. Coast Guard said that it is conducting a flight over the area.
Nearly two years ago, the “Deepwater Horizon” rig blew up after it lost control of the well it was drilling and killed 11 and injured hundreds more. The resulting spill was the worst offshore oil spill in United States history. The tragic event resulted in an overhaul of offshore-drilling regulations and increased vigilance about oil spills in the region.