Heritage plugs minor oil spill in Gulf

Friday, December 21, 2018 - 11:45
Heritage Petroleum Company Limited says it has plugged what it says was a minor oil spill in the Gulf of Paria which occurred on Thursday.
In a statement hours ago, Heritage Petroleum's communications team confirmed that the spill occurred around 11.25 am off Platform 9 in the Soldado Main Field on Thursday. However, it said less than five barrels were spilt.
"Heritage Petroleum’s HSE department received reports of oil having been sighted in the vicinity between Rising Platform (RP) #1 and Platform 9, Soldado Main Field.
 The company’s Oil Spill Contingency Plan was immediately activated and the relevant personnel were dispatched to the scene.
 The spill has been isolated and Heritage HSE personnel have shut in Southwest Soldado and surrounding facilities," the company said.
Officials said the volume of oil was estimated to be less than five barrels.
"Clean-up activities and repairs are in progress and there has been no material impact on the environment. 
There have been no further oil sightings or evidence of oil leakage and monitoring is ongoing. All regulatory agencies, including the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs; the Environmental Management Authority (EMA); and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) have been notified," Heritage Petroleum said.
However, a source who requested anonymity said up to 1 pm on Friday, officials were still trying to determine the exact point where the spill had started.
A senior energy source said it was important to quantify the quantity of the spill and determine its trajectory.
"There is an oil spill contingency plan which is tried and tested and the Ministry of Energy has to take the lead role in ensuring that the plan is put into effect," the source said. 
He added that the plan makes provisions for seeking help from outside the company should a need arise. 
"An arrangement is also in place with a Fort Lauderdale company called Clean Caribbean America. If need be, they could trigger that standby arrangement and get resources into Trinidad." 
He pointed out that spills in the Gulf were not good for the environment. 
Meanwhile, fishermen from the south-western peninsula say they have not been affected by the spill.
Icacos Fishing Association president Esook Ali said there had been no sightings of oil from any of his fishermen, although he admitted many of them had closed off work for the year.
"Right now fishermen are frustrated because they cannot afford gas so not many people are working but so far we have not had any reports of damages," Ali said.
The T&T Guardian will bring you more as this story develops.