Public warned to stay away from Poole Harbour following oilfield leak

Poole Harbour

People are being warned to stay away from Poole Harbour after a major incident was declared.

Around 200 barrels of reservoir fluid which included oil have leaked into the harbour in Dorset.

The leak occurred at a pipeline operated by gas company Perenco in Owers Bay on Sunday.

Poole Harbour Commissioners have warned people not swim in the harbour or at nearby beaches until further notice.

The area is a haven for wildlife and is one of the most popular spots for tourists and swimmers in the South West.

Perenco said a small amount of reservoir fluid, made up of 85 per cent water and 15 per cent oil, escaped from the pipeline.

The leak came from Wytch Farm, an oilfield and processing plant that produces about 14,000 barrels of oil each day.

Poole Harbour Commissioners said: “It is estimated that approximately 200 barrels of reservoir fluid has been released into the water column in Poole Harbour.

“Anyone who has come into contact with the spill should wash immediately with soap and water. If eyes have come into contact with the spill, they should be rinsed with water.”

Franck Dy, Perenco UK’s Wytch Farm general manager, said: “Any spill is an extremely serious matter and a full investigation will be launched to ascertain what happened in Poole Harbour.

“It is important to stress that the situation is under control, with the discharge of fluids having been stopped and the spill is being contained.”

The MP for Poole, Sir Robert Syms, said he and neighbouring South Dorset MP Richard Drax have requested the government take an urgent question on the incident later today.

The Environment Agency said: “We are supporting the port authority and other partners in responding to this incident.”


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