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Shell Spills More Than 80,000 Gallons of Oil in Gulf of Mexico

May 16, 2016 04:23 AM EDT
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An oil spill from the Royal Dutch Shell company has released 2,100 barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, forcing the company to shut down all its wells that flow to its Brutus platform.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said the leak involved about 88,200 gallons of crude, creating a 2 mile by 13 mile (about 3 kilometers by 21 kilometers) oil slick, about 97 miles south of Lousiana, as per Reuters.

The sheen was observed near Shell's Glider Field, which is comprised of four subsea wells. Its production flows to the Brutus platform, which is started its operations in 2001 and is underwater at a depth of 2,900 feet.

In a statement, Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith said the wells are already under control after production was halted.

The company said the slick most probably came from an oil release from the subsea infrastructure, though the exact cause of the incident is still being determined. No injuries have been reported and a cleanup crew has been dispatched by the U.S. Coast Guard.

EcoWatch reported that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has tightened regulations for offshore operations since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010, which created the largest man-made oil spill in history. Six years after the accident, the impact of the BP oil spill is worse than scientists initially thought.

Environmental advocates have persistently campaigned to stop offshore drilling as it continues to pose risks to the environment.

"The last thing the Gulf of Mexico needs is another oil spill," Greenpeace campaigner Vicky Wyatt told EcoWatch, adding that President Barack Obama can put an end to these climate disasters by stopping new leases in the Gulf and the Arctic.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which aims to end petrochemical pollution in Louisiana, said in a press release that this spill is only one of the "thousands" of oil-related accidents happening in the Gulf of Mexico every year.

As of Sunday, the Coast Guard reported that more than 51,000 gallons of oily water have been recovered, as per The Associated Press. The slick is not expected to reach the shoreline and has not injured wildlife.

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