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‘Potential product’ seen in sea off hurricane-hit Bahamas

Equinor says it will investigate possible spill in water that has reached coast, as clean-up at its onshore terminal continues

Equinor is to investigate reports of “potential product” in the water and at the coastline of the Bahamas following the devastating Hurricane Dorian, although as yet there is nothing to link the sighting to an onshore spill at one of the company’s terminals.

“Equinor has completed the initial surveillance of the terminal and surrounding areas from the air and the ground,” the Norwegian player said as clean-up efforts continue at its South Riding Point crude storage and transshipment terminal on Grand Bahama where oil tanks were damaged, leading to an oil leak.

“There is currently no observed leakage of oil to the sea from the South Riding Point terminal,” the company continued.

It added, however: “Aerial surveillance has identified potential product in open waters 70 to 80 kilometers north-east of the terminal within Long Point Bight close to Little Abaco Island.

Equinor tackles Bahamas oil spill

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“There are also indications that the product may have impacted a section of the coastline.

“Although the source of this product is not known, Equinor will investigate and further evaluate necessary actions, including mobilization of suitable equipment and resources.”

Equinor, which has already mobilised people and equipment to the area of its terminal, said “the situation for the people on the Bahamas continues to be very challenging”.

“Equinor has a team working at South Riding Point terminal Bahamas, including an advanced onshore response team with oil spill technical specialist.

“In total more than 200 personnel are working with the response in Bahamas, the US and in Norway.”

Two vessels have been mobilised to the terminal, with the first arriving on Tuesday and the second set to arrive on Thursday.

“Operations are ongoing at the terminal to secure the oil at the facility. Oil from the damaged tanks has been moved to remaining tanks at the facility to reduce the risk of additional oil spills. An oil boom has been deployed to close the harbour at the terminal as a precautionary measure, and to reduce the risk of oil spill to sea,” Equinor said.

“Two trucks have started recovery and transport of bulk free-standing oil on the ground to one of the tanks at the terminal.”

Equinor said it has decided to donate $1 million to one or more organisations involved in the response in the Bahamas.

The company’s 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.

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