Eni has confirmed hundreds of barrels of oils have spilled into the Irish Sea from its pipeline between the Conwy and Douglas platforms, around 33km from the North Wales coast. The pipeline was shut off following the leak and remains closed.
The Conwy field, estimated to hold recoverable reserves of 15.8 million barrels of oil, was developed as a tie-back to the Douglas complex and exports reservoir fluids to the Douglas installation via a subsea pipeline. It is this pipeline that was disrupted and the spill, which occurred on Monday, is approximated to be of around 500 barrels – equivalent to just under 80,000 litres.
In a statement, Eni said that all the relevant authorities were “promptly informed” and that it is working in full collaboration with them to address the incident.
UK Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Greg Hands wrote on Twitter that he was being kept “regularly updated” on the situation.
“The pipeline was immediately shut off,” he wrote. “Aerial surveillance has been undertaken + specialist teams have been mobilised along Lancashire’s coast to respond…We’re in touch with local MPs & councils, as well as ENI UK.”
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency also said that its counter pollution and salvage team had been mobilised. Alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Institutional Strategy, the group will be monitoring and assisting Eni’s response to the disaster.
So far, authorities have said that the possibility of environmental damage is minimal, though fears remain over the possibility of an oil slick. The news also comes on the 26th anniversary of a 72,000 tonne crude oil spill off the Pembrokeshire coast – an event that was deemed the worst ecological disaster Wales had ever seen. With another spill marking the anniversary, environmentalists have strengthened calls for an end to fossil fuel consumption.
Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “This week marks the anniversary of the Sea Empress oil spill. A quarter of a century on, we still find that oil is a dirty business at every stage…the ongoing environmental damage oil causes should be a major incentive to drive forward the cleaner, cheaper energy technologies that now exist.”