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    Little environmental impact after Statfjord spill

    News // November 14, 2008

    The Statfjord oil spill in December last year did not cause any demonstrable environmental harm, according to the environmental report on the spill.

    After the spill, StatoilHydro initiated several environmental investigations in order to identify and, if required, reduce the environmental impacts. Sintef, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) have also been involved in the investigation.

    The report is now ready and specialists conclude that the oil spill of around 4,400 m3 - which is the second largest on the Norwegian continental shelf - did not cause any demonstrable environmental harm.

    Three days after the incident there were no longer any visible traces of the oil on the sea surface. Analyses from Sintef showed that after a couple of days 25 per cent of the oil had evaporated and 15 per cent had dissolved.

    The rest of the oil mixed into the churning water as droplets, gradually dissolving and bieng eaten consumed by bacteria.

    “Because of heavy waves and wind, the oil was quickly mixed into the sea,” says Hanne Jorun Storhaug Ervik, StatoilHydro’s project manager for the investigation. "The weather conditions were on our side and nature took care of itself."

    Tests on the level of oil components in fish from the North Sea caught in December and January indicate that all of the components were below allowable limits.
     
    "No harm to the environment close to Statfjord has been proven, even though the oil spill was a very serious incident," said Eva Øglænd Bjørnestad, environmental co-ordinator for Statfjord.

    “More than 170 fish samples have been analysed without any traces of oil being found in the fish fillets,” says Bjørn Einar Grøsvik of the IMR.

    “Our goal is zero harm to the environment in which we operate, and we immediately started extensive investigations and analyses,” said Ms Bjørnestad.

    “We have gained further knowledge about the environmental affects of oil spills and experience that will be useful both to StatoilHydro personnel and external professional communities,” Ms Bjørnestad concluded.

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