Irish Sea oil leak could end up on Sefton Coast council warns

15th February 2022
The Lennox Platform, with the Irish Sea Pioneer. Photo copyright Oliver Dixon

Sefton Council has warned that spillage from an oil leak in the Irish Sea could wash up on Sefton’s shores.

ENI UK, who control the Liverpool Bay gas and oil fields, including the Lennox platform that can be seen from the Southport coast, confirmed that approximately 500 barrels of oil had been leaked into the area on Valentine’s day.

The Council is now warning that “tar balls” may wash up on the local coastline and should not be touched.

First discovered in 1992, The Liverpool Bay area comprises four oil and gas fields.

The Southport “oil rig” – the Lennox platform – is an unmanned satellite platform sending oil and gas to the main Douglas Platform approximately 18 miles away.

All of the oil produced in Liverpool Bay is sent from Douglas to the development’s offshore storage installation – an 870,000bbl-capacity tanker, which is permanently moored 20 miles off the coast of Southport.

A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an oil leakage off the North Wales coast.

“Owing to currents and weather forecasts in the next 24 hours, we expect to see deposits, in the form of ‘tar balls’ washing up on our coastline as a result of this incident.

“While this type of incident is rare, Sefton Council and its partner agencies have robust plans in place to ensure any contamination or disruption to our coastline is minimal.

“We will be supporting ENI UK Limited’s clean up teams in the coming weeks to remove any potential contamination.

“Posters have been erected along our coastline to inform visitors to our beach of this issue and we would ask that dogs are kept supervised at all times.

“We would also stress that removal of this waste should only be carried out by professionals, and we ask that members of the public do not attempt to remove any ‘tar ball’ deposits.

“If you come across these deposits, in the first instance please call 0151 934 2961 to report this to the Rangers at Green Sefton.

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ENI UK said in a statement: “[We confirm] that a limited hydocarbons release of less than 500 barrels occurred on Monday, February 14 from its pipeline between the Conwy and Douglas Installations, approximately 33km from the North Wales coast.

“Details of the incident are still being confirmed.

“The Conwy to Douglas line was shut immediately and remains off.

“All the relevant authorities have been promptly informed and we are working in full collaboration with them.

“There is no impact to any personnel on the installations.

“An Incident Management Team has been mobilised and is working closely with the relevant authorities and response contractors to understand the situation and minimise any effect to the environment.

“A further statement will be made as soon as more information becomes available.”