Shell says Gulf oil slick is not from its wells

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NEW ORLEANS — Royal Dutch Shell says it is confident a 10-mile oil sheen spotted in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast didn't originate from its operations in the area.

In a statement Thursday, the company says it found no sign of leaks and ruled out any well-control issues associated with its operations. The sheen was spotted late Wednesday.

A Coast Guard helicopter with a pollution officer on board was heading out Thursday morning to the site, about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, in an effort to determine the source of the oil.

Shell estimates the sheen at six barrels of oil, or about 252 gallons. The company sent a response ship to skim the area as a precaution.

The company has two production platforms in the area, called Mars and Ursa.

Shares in Royal Dutch Shell PLC fell in European trading early Thursday after the sheen was reported. After New York trading opened, Shell's U.S. shares were up 32 cents at $68.07.

Early reports could not determine whether oil was continuing to flow at the site near the Shell platforms.

The Mars and Ursa fields are producing oil and natural gas from huge tension-leg production platforms. The Mars platform is in 2,900 feet of water while Ursa is in 4,000 feet of water.

Shell operates six major offshore facilities, 13 crewed platforms and numerous subsea systems in the Gulf.

The sheen was reported in an area about 50 miles from the site of BP's Macondo well, which blew out in April 2010 and created the nation's worst offshore oil disaster. The now-plugged Macondo well is in about 5,000 feet of water.

Sheens spread quickly as oil breaks down and a small amount can cover a large area. Earlier this week, a tanker in the Mississippi River south of New Orleans spilled an estimated 50 gallons of oil. The sheen from the discharge extended almost 30 miles downriver.

Other possible sources, aside from oilfield equipment, could include natural seepage from the Gulf bottom and fuel discharged by passing ships headed into or out of the Mississippi River.

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Comments » 8

brown writes:

Liar. Never trust an oil company.

Sane_in_Florida (Inactive) writes:

I flew over the Gulf about a week and a half ago en route to Houston and saw oil slicks the whole way - and from 37000 feet, they must have been decent sized.

staghorn writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

if i hated America as much as you do, i would vote republican too.

unfatcat writes:

Remember a couple of years ago when Obama was trying to pass his first global warming/anti-oil and anti-coal campaign? During this time, a coal mine would kill workers in the U.S. and the most major oil spill occurred in the Gulf, killing Americans and Obama's actions were only attorneys, for which, no specific cause was ever found to my knowledge, other than the accused oil spiller had a bad track record to begin with.

Now, focus forward today...neithier global warming was sold to the public nor the energy bills and Obama promised to pass this redistributed wealth legistlation. Interesting, today Bloomberg ran an article that says that oil drilling has been causing the mysterious earthquakes in the U.S. and today there is an oil slick to blame someone for again.

Coincidence? Huh?

drolds writes:

'Natural Seepage'? Imagine that.

Sane_in_Florida (Inactive) writes:

in response to SoldierStrong:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I've been withholding a response from your absurd comments but for weeks you've been spewing pure garbage. If you want to criticize others for the factual relevance of their posts than start with your own.

The loans were made by the Export-Import Bank to a Brazilian company to buy American-manufactured parts and American services.

The Export-Import Bank is also a SELF-FUNDED organization used to stimulate international trade and all of the voting directors were appointees of Bush 43.

Stop being an f-ing hypocrite and change your ridiculous, self-aggrandizing screen name for sh i*t's sake!

glennhamilton writes:

Just like Obama, its someone elses fault.

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