Clean-up operations are continuing following Perenco’s oil leak last week from its Wytch Farm oilfield operations in Dorset, in the UK, that saw reservoir fluids discharged into Poole Harbour.

An estimated 140,000 litres of oily/water mix and more than five tonnes of contaminated beach/soil material and contaminated materials have now been recovered.

A cofferdam at the leakage site has been constructed and the pipeline that leaked has been sealed, said Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC).

“Pipeline excavation work is continuing. Flushing and skimming operations continue non-stop in Ower Bay. The containment measures involving 11 booms are proving successful,” said PHC chief executive Jim Stewart.

The agency added that some 30 “slightly oiled” birds have been observed although there have been no serious bird casualties reported.

“We are unaware of any other wildlife casualties as a result of the incident at this point,” Stewart said in a statement of 2 April.

Anglo-French independent Perenco suffered the oil leak on 26 March, with a reported 200 barrels of reservoir fluids spilling into Poole Harbour, triggering a declaration of a major incident in the area known for its beaches and nature reserves.

The operator earlier said: “Perenco UK confirms that there has been a limited oil leak at one of its well sites in its Wytch Farm operations in Dorset. Perenco UK’s incident management team was activated immediately, the leak was stopped and booms deployed as an additional containment to protect Poole Harbour.”

The main focus of the ongoing clean-up operations is at Ower Bay, however substantial clean-up is also taking place at the Goathorn and Arne peninsulas.

PHC added it is working closely with the Standing Environment Group, involving the Environment Agency and Natural England. Commercial drones are being used as part of the oil spill response.

Public not welcome

“We continue to ask that members of the public do not try and help with the clean-up at Poole Harbour, specialist trained teams are working hard on the ground,” said Stewart.

Wytch Farm, the largest onshore oilfield in western Europe, is exploited via extended reach wells drilled from the UK mainland.

Perenco has operated the field, originally developed and held by BP, since 2011. Wytch Farm accounts for about 14,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production net to Perenco’s 95% interest, out of the company’s approximate 40,000 boepd total output.

Poole boasts a natural harbour covering more than 40 square kilometres.

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