An oil spill that happened in the North Sea isn’t expected to reach land, according to BP PLC officials. The oil company said BP officials are monitoring the leak, which happened Sunday morning at the Clair platform about 46 miles west of the Shetland Islands. As of Monday, the company said the oil appeared to be heading west, away from Shetland.
Officials estimated about 95 tons of oil, or 700 barrels worth, had spilled into the sea. However, they were unable to give an accurate amount of oil spilled as of yet. A technical issue with the system responsible for separating water, oil and gas caused the leak, officials said, and the spill lasted for about an hour after the problem was discovered. The Clair platform was shut down immediately following the spill.
With the help of the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Oil Spill Response Limited, BP said they were determining the best way to protect the environment while developing a safe way to clean up the spill. For now, the company said, allowing “the oil to disperse naturally at sea” may be the best route in handling the spill as a recent flight surveillance of the area has already shown “significant dispersal of the oil at the surface.” It’s unclear how long the clean-up may take.
Although the company is still taking all appropriate measures to diffuse the situation, the latest BP leak is not nearly as problematic for the company in comparison to the Deepwater Horizon spill that emitted about 3 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is still paying the price for the 2010 spill – pegged as one of the largest environmental disasters ever – including the Bluefin tuna population, which Stanford and NOAA scientists said in a recent Scientific Reports article may have a more difficult time rebuilding its population because of the significant impact the spill had on its breeding ground, eggs and larvae. The 2010 BP spill saw the company shell out over $175 million in a class action lawsuit.