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News and Media Releases

April 12, 2012 Gulf of Mexico Oil Sheen Status Update

Shell, in close communication with BSEE (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) and the US Coast Guard, has conducted additional aerial and subsea surveillance in the central Gulf of Mexico and determined that the estimated 6-barrel light sheen has broken up and is dissipating.

We remain very confident that the sheen did not originate from Shell operations.

However, in keeping with Shell’s focus on deep water operational excellence, Shell has two remote operating vehicles (ROVs) in the area to conduct subsea surveillance, including the potential for natural occurring seeps in the seafloor.  This surveillance is to further assist federal regulatory agencies in determining the cause and nature of the orphan sheen. 

It is well studied and documented, most recently by BSEE, that the Gulf of Mexico has a long history of natural occurring seeps, which can on occasion produce sheens.  Shell’s subsea surveillance today and tomorrow will continue to determine if there is a connection between natural seeps and this orphan sheen.

Shell production has not been impacted at either the Mars or Ursa development areas.