Norwegian environmental organization Bellona has accused state oil company Statoil of environmental crime, after crude oil leaked Thursday from its offshore installation in the Statfjord oil field.
Statoil itself reported that an estimated 44,000 liters of crude leaked into the North Sea during loading of oil from its Statfjord A platform to the tanker ship Hilda Knutsen. The loading was being conducted through the system connecting Statfjord A and B.
Vessels in the area immediately began to contain the oil spill and a helicopter helped survey its extent. Statoil also reported that it had alerted all relevant authorities to the accident.
That didn’t satisfy Bellona, with its leader Fredric Hauge announcing that the organization was considering reporting Statoil and its spill to police for prosecution. He also demanded that Statoil sharpen its security and safety routines.
“What happened yesterday is another example that Statoil hasn’t learned from its earlier mistakes,” Hauge stated in a press release Friday morning. “This can prove to be a criminal incident for which Statoil should be fined.” He claimed he was worried about repeated accidents at some of Statoil’s oldest oil platforms in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, and vowed to confront Statoil and demand more information about the reasons for the spill.
It’s been eight years since the last time oil leaked from the Statfjord field, but Statoil has had some problems at other installations. It came just as environmental organizations in Norway already were harshly criticizing the new state budget released on Wednesday, claiming it does not provide enough funding for environmental measures and leaves the country continuing to rely too heavily on its offshore oil and gas industry.