Published April 12, 2012
Shares of Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) ticked lower on Thursday after the company said it spotted an “oil sheen” in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Netherlands-based oil and gas company notified the National Response Center of a light sheen in the central portion of the Gulf of Mexico between the Mars and Ursa production area.
The company said it has “no current indication” that the sheen originated from one of its wells in either project areas, but said it is taking “prudent caution.”
Shell activated the Louisiana Responder, a Marine Spill Response Corporation vessel with skimming and boom capabilities, and requested flights to monitor the one by ten-mile sheen closely with additional aerial surveillance.
“At this time, the source of this sheen is unknown, and Shell’s priority is to respond proactively, safely, and in close coordination with regulatory agencies,” the company said in a statement.
The precautionary measures are normal for this type of sheen, particularly near the Gulf Coast.
The sheen comes nearly two years after British oil giant BP’s (BP) catastrophic rig explosion that killed 11 people and sent oil gushing into the gulf, killing wildlife and saturating beaches.
The BP spill, which was the worst ever in U.S. water, caused a moratorium over the Gulf of Mexico that stalled deepwater drilling for more than a year.
Since then, stricter regulations have been put into place and oil companies are again starting to ramp up their activity off the coast of Mexico in an effort to meet rising demand for oil.