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Wales’ coast monitored after almost 500 barrels of oil spill into sea

15 Feb 2022 2 minute read
5 miles from Rhyl. Picture by Jaggery (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Wales’ northern coast is being monitored for an oil slick after almost 500 barrels of oil spilt into the sea.

The pipe runs between two platforms in the Irish Sea named Conwy and Douglas, about 15 miles from Rhyl. It was shut off following the leak yesterday and remains closed.

According to Eni UK, the company that operates the pipeline: “It said: “Eni UK Ltd can confirm that a release of hydrocarbons from its pipeline between the Conwy and Douglas installations, approximately 33km from the north Wales coast, was reported on Monday 14 February.

“All relevant authorities were promptly informed. There was no impact at any personnel on the installations. A further statement will be made as soon as more information becomes available.”

Dr Peter Robins, senior lecturer in physical oceanography at Bangor University, told the BBC: “An oil spill will tend to spread out over the surface of the ocean and it’ll spread naturally though the mixing of the ocean waters.

“Where it’s spilt in the middle of Liverpool Bay, there tends to be stronger flood tides so it might tend to drift eastwards, maybe towards the English coast there.

“At the moment we’re experiencing quite strong south-westerly winds and they’re going to also tend to push the oil eastwards towards the English coast, I think.”

Dr Richard Benwell, the CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “It’s 26 years to the day since the Sea Empress disaster wrought ecological havoc on the Welsh coast … Fossil fuel spills are again threatening the wildlife in our waters, which are already in a precarious state. The sooner we break our dependence on these dirty fuels the better.”

Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said: “This week marks the anniversary of the Sea Empress oil spill. A quarter of a century on, we still find that oil is a dirty business at every stage, whether that’s through planet-warming emissions or leakages like this that harm marine life. The ongoing environmental damage oil causes should be a major incentive to drive forward the cleaner, cheaper energy technologies that now exist.”

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