Health and safety is paramount in leak response

Further to the media release of 6th July 2018 and in keeping with its commitment to update the public with respect to developments at the leaking well in the Gulf of Paria, the Ministry wishes to advise as follows:

The Ministry of Energy and Petrotrin’s Incident Command team continues to take all necessary measures to ensure that a solution is obtained to repair the leak at the Couva Marine 2 Well. Personnel have been monitoring the leaking wellhead and assessing the nature and impact of the hydrocarbon emissions (a combination of gas and light oil). The incident command team continued to meet today in order to manage the impacts of the incident and to safely bring the matter to a safe conclusion.

The focus of the Incident Command Team over the past few days has been on analyzing available data on the wells in the area and the development of strategies to bring the well under control. In doing so, the safety of personnel has been the number one priority. A number of possible scenarios, including the drilling of a relief well, have been developed and proposed solutions are being evaluated. The primary considerations in evaluating the various strategies have been the health and safety of personnel and to mitigate further negative impact on the environment. Therefore, assistance has been sought from the multinational energy companies operating here, as well as foreign entities with which Petrotrin is affiliated, who have experience with the management of oil spills and well control incidents.

Today, an orange substance, which appears to be emulsified oil, appeared on Carrat Shed and Coffee beaches. Containment booms with skimmers are being deployed in the area of the leaking well and clean-up crews were mobilized to effect remedial work in any affected areas. Visits were made to the Carrat Shed and Coffee beaches to determine potential impact.

The Director of Maritime Services has issued an advisory to marine craft operators that “extreme caution is advised and requesting that they maintain a distance of 5 nautical miles”. This advisory will remain in effect until the situation is resolved. Both Petrotrin and the Coast Guard will maintain patrols in the area and aerial and marine surveillance exercises will continue. The Ministry urges fisherfolk and other marine craft operators to observe the maritime advisory and to stay clear of the area to avoid injury and also to allow those involved in containment and control activities to do so without impediment.

The Ministry will continue to provide updates as further information becomes available.

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