Trinidad’s state-owned oil company Petrotrin has confirmed at least 11 oil spills during December 2013 and was fined $3.1m from the country’s Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
The oil spills are said to have damaged parts of Trinidad and Tobago and coated miles of beach with crude.
Based on a report from the Trinidad Guardian, it has been revealed that initially the company responded to an oil spill that took place near La Brea on 17 December.
According to a confidential report commissioned by the company, the pipeline responsible for the first of the leaks at its Point-a-Pierre facility resulted in an initial spill of more than 7,000 barrels.
The report obtained by the Trinidad Guardian and reported in the Huffington Post further noted that in the past 17 years, the pipeline may not have undergone any inspections.
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Petrotrin was trying to downplay the extent and size of the oil spill and was accused by local officials, the Trinidad Express reported.
Since then, the company used the controversial dispersant Corexit 9500 in order to control the spill that is used in unprecedented quantities by BP during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists said that the chemical becomes more toxic compared to oil alone when the two are combined, and will also harm marine life.
In January 2013, Trinidad’s energy department approved a new national oil spill contingency plan.
Image: Petrotrin first responded to an oil spill near La Brea on 17 December. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick.