Oil has spilled into the sea in the southern English county of Dorset. According to British media, 200 barrels of reservoir liquid spilled into the ocean near the coastal town of Poole. There is talk of a "serious incident".
The liquid consists of 85 percent water and 15 percent oil, the Poole Port Commissioner said in a statement.
The leak came from the Wytch Farm plant operated by Perenco, one of the largest onshore oil fields in Europe. The pipeline has been shut down, according to the port commissioner, and cordons have been put in place on either side of the leak to minimize pollution.
According to Sky News, Perenco said there was a "limited oil spill" at Wytch Farm. A "fault management team" was immediately activated and the "leak stopped". We work closely with the authorities.
Wytch Farm director general Franck Dy told Sky News: "Any oil spill is an extremely serious matter and a full investigation will be launched to determine what happened at Poole Harbour. It is important to stress that the situation under Control is, the spill has been stopped and the leak is being contained."
Local health officials, meanwhile, issued a warning saying the public should not bathe in or around Poole Harbor until further notice. "Anyone who has come into contact with the spilled oil should wash immediately with soap and water. If eyes have come into contact with the spilled oil, they should be flushed with water," says the UK Health Security Agency south west
Local politicians reacted angrily to the incident. "When I first heard about this yesterday I was angry and disappointed," Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole City Council leader Philip Broadhead told the BBC. "There are serious questions to be answered."
Early indications are that the oil slick is "already spreading at the surface. We want it to move out to sea and dissipate as quickly as possible," Broadhead said. It is "unacceptable".
Sir Robert Syms, Conservative MP for Poole, said he had asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to allow an emergency inquiry into the incident on Monday, according to Sky News.
Wytch Farm has been producing oil and gas from sandstone and limestone since 1979. Poole is the largest natural harbor in Europe. It is also of interest to naturalists as a number of shorebirds live in the area.
Quellen: Poole Harbour Commissioners, UK Health Security Agency South West, Sky News, BBC, "The Guardian", hydrocarbons-technology.com