Poole harbour: Major incident over oilfield leak

After an oil leak, the public is being asked to refrain from using the beaches and water within Poole Harbour in Dorset, South-West England.

The Poole Harbour Commissioners, also known as the harbour regulator, stated that a leakage occurred at Perenco’s pipeline under Owers Bay.

The incident at Wytch farm oilfield resulted in about 200 barrels of “reservoir liquid” being released from Britain’s largest offshore field.

Perenco stated that a small amount of the fluid, which is 85% water and 15% crude oil, escaped from its pipeline. Some of it was already recovered as of Sunday night.

PHC stated that “early indicators suggest that the surface oil is already dispersing.”

They also stated that Perenco had not reported any further leakage since the pipeline was shut off. Booms were placed either side of the leak to minimize pollution.

PHC stated that a further assessment of the cleanup operation would be done Monday morning.

Pereco stated that Perenco UK’s Incident Management Team was activated instantly. The leak was stopped and booms were deployed to provide additional protection for Poole Harbour. Perenco UK has been in close contact with the authorities. A clean-up operation is underway.

Franck Dy, Perenco UK’s Wytch Farm General Manager, stated: “Any spillage is an extremely serious matter, and a thorough investigation will be launched in order to determine what happened at Poole harbour.”

Anyone who was in contact with the spillage was urged to wash immediately with soapy water.

This area is home to wildlife and has been designated as a site of special scientific importance.

In response to the leak, the UK Health Security Agency South West reiterated its swimming advice.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency stated that they had received reports about large amounts of oil in Poole Harbour and were supporting the port authority as well as other partners in their response to this incident.

Philip Broadhead, leader of Bournemouth and Christchurch councils, stated that “all relevant partner agencies” were working to resolve the incident. “As the leader of the council, I will be working with the senior team from the council to determine the implications of this leak and the appropriate action to take.”

“It is very disappointing to hear about this incident. While there will be an opportunity for anger and investigation later, our current focus must be on how we can minimize the impact of this situation.”

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