Shell’s Glider field remains shut-in after oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

Offshore staff

NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Lars Herbst has formally established an investigative panel to identify the causes and any contributing issues that led to the oil release from Shell Offshore Inc.’s Glider field last week.

The seven-member panel, comprised of BSEE engineers, inspectors, and investigators, will make recommendations in its final report on how to strengthen existing safety and environmental management systems, and identify any reforms to existing regulations that may be needed. The focus of these recommendations is to prevent a similar incident from occurring, the regulator noted.

The Glider field, located around 97 mi (156 km) south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, includes subsea wells and the field’s production flows to the Brutus TLP. Most recently, the operator released an update yesterday:

“The sheen has maintained a westerly trajectory with no shoreline impacts anticipated at this time … Production from the nearby Brutus field has resumed. Glider and other subsea tieback fields remain shut-in.

“Skimming of the sheen continued overnight using infrared technology with support from aerial resources. Joint efforts have recovered approximately 1,229 bbl (or about 51,000 gallons) of oily-water mixture,” it said.  

The regulator said it will not approve production restart of these subsea fields until all safety concerns and applicable regulations have been met.

The bureau also confirmed that it had approved Shell’s plan for recovery of the damaged flowline segment. BSEE said an inspector is onboard the recovery vessel to observe the recovery operations.

All repair plans for the subsea flowlines and production systems will be submitted to BSEE for review.

Shell confirmed that it was still working with BSEE and the US Coast Guard in its response to the oil spill.


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