Norwegian multinational energy company Equinor is reporting that it has no more free-standing “oily liquids” on the ground at its Grand Bahama facility, according to Country Manager Tanya Rigby-Seymour.
Last month, the company reported that roughly 55,000 barrels of oil were spilled at the facility during Hurricane Dorian.
“We have recovered just over 58,000 barrels of oily liquid,” Seymour said.
“We did have a release of 55,000 barrels off the facility into the forest and area north of the terminal. We are now at the point where we have no more free-standing oily liquids on the ground that has been recovered.
“Now, it’s mostly cleaning up our tanks and scraping up the soil that’s in the terminal area, and the forest cleanup continues.”
She explained that a mixture of oil and rain water make up the total amount of barrels recovered.
Seymour said the forest cleanup consists mostly of manual pruning of the trees, and emphasized that the company does not want to cause more harm to the environment.
“We don’t want to go in and bulldoze anything or do more harm than good,” she said.
“So, we’re being very careful so that we give the chance for the forest to actually recover. That will go on for some time. Our best estimate is that it would take probably about another six months for us to do.”
The country manager added that teams of about 15 to 20 individuals are led by one scientist to ensure that everything is done correctly.
Seymour said, “We’re now at the point where, because we have no more free-standing oil or oily liquids on the ground, we’re starting to demobilize a lot of the heavy machinery that we brought in. So, you’ll see probably less people in our terminal area, but the forest area north of the terminal is where the majority of our respondents will be from now on.”
Equinor had more than 350 responders from 14 countries, including more than 100 responders from The Bahamas, working on “recovery operations”.
She also confirmed that the initial testing of ground water wells indicated there was no ground water contamination, but the company intends to continue to monitor this issue.
“Our environmental contractor drilled and placed in 22 ground water wells into the area, and thus far there has been no detectable concentration of petroleum hydrocarbon,” Seymour said.
“We have non-detects of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene or xylene. So, we’ve been very pleased with these initial results, and I say initial because this is ongoing.
“We plan to put in more additional wells in the affected area. Probably in the next month we’ll be completing that. Then, we’ll be testing quarterly from now on for another year.”
She added that water samples were obtained and sent to an EPA-certified laboratory.