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Equinor tackles Bahamas oil spill

Norwegian operator mobilises resources after terminal left damaged by Hurricane Dorian

Norway’s Equinor has mobilised equipment and personnel to tackle an oil spill at its South Riding Point crude storage and transshipment terminal in the Bahamas amid onshore devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

The spill covering an area of about 650 square metres inland was caused after tanks at the terminal on Grand Bahama island suffered damage when the hurricane made landfall last week, affecting 54 employees with Equinor who are all accounted for an unharmed.

The terminal has 10 tanks with total storage capacity of 6.75 million barrels of crude and condensate, although only 1.8 million barrels were being stored in three of the tanks when the hurricane hit, with the others containing only residual oil.

The rooves of five of the tanks were ripped off by the force of the hurricane.

A vessel carrying emergency relief including water and food for the Equinor workers has now arrived on the island, with another two vessels now en route from Louisiana, US with 43 oil spill response personnel and clean-up equipment, according to the Norwegian state-controlled operator.

Additional oil spill personnel and equipment are being mobilised in Florida and could arrive within two days, and efforts are also being made to procure equipment locally in the Bahamas.

The equipment being mobilised includes skimmers, oil containment booms, absorbents, pumps, pressure washers and boats.

“We have no indications of ongoing leaks from the tanks and there are no indications of oil stemming from our terminal on nearby beaches or in the ocean,” Equinor stated in its latest update on Monday.

Around 225 Equinor employees are involved in the response effort, in addition to external personnel and resources.

“The situation is complex and challenging, with damage to infrastructure hampering progress in relief and response efforts,” the company said.

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