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Gulf of Mexico sheen dissipating.

Royal Dutch Shell said an oil sheen near two of its offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas platforms was dissipating, and it was "very confident" its installations were not to blame.

The Hague-based company said the "orphan spill," estimated to be about six barrels of oil, was breaking up. Shell said it would continue to monitor the sea floor with a pair of underwater robots.

"Shell's subsea surveillance will continue to determine if there is a connection between natural seeps and this orphan sheen," the company said.

News of the sheen, first reported to US regulators, came nearly two years after BP's deep sea Macondo well blew out on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The earlier drop in the company's London-listed share price showed that investors remain anxious over potential oil accidents two years after the BP offshore spill, the worst ever in the US.

The sheen, spotted about 50 miles away from the Macondo well, was estimated to be six barrels of oil stretched one mile by 10 miles before it began dissipating.

"The sheen appears to be dissipating," the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said in a statement, after inspecting the area with helicopter overflights. "It does not appear to be expanding." Shell's robot surveillance, in addition to overflights at the scene by the US Coast Guard, showed no signs of wellhead leaks, the company said.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Geographic Code:0GULF
Date:Apr 25, 2012
Words:267
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