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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) personnel, while offshore, spotted an oil sheen in the central Gulf of Mexico (GOM), approximately 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, LA. BSEE immediately notified Shell, the operator of the Mars and Ursa platforms, which are the operations nearest the observed sheen.
A thorough inspection to-date of Shell’s assets reveals operations in the area are normal with no sign of leaks.
Shell confirmed that there are no well control issues associated with its drilling operations in the area. The nature of the sheen is expected to be about 6 barrels.
BSEE conducted an overflight at first light this morning to monitor the sheen. BSEE directed Shell to conduct a seafloor assessment using a remote operated vehicle. Shell is currently conducting the assessment, which involves surveying permanently plugged wells in the surrounding area and a known natural seafloor seep located in proximity of the sheen. BSEE has identified pipelines in the immediate area and has directed the pipeline operators to begin survey of its lines.
The following actions have taken place: the oil spill response vessel, Louisiana Responder, is on station and remains ready to respond; over flights will continue as weather conditions permit; and Shell has deployed two remote operating vehicles to inspect Shell and non-Shell infrastructures and search for potential naturally-occurring seeps in the area.