In connection with its Norne development in the Norwegian Sea during the 1990s, Statoil headed development work on innovative specialized equipment to collect spilled oil. This system is also very suitable for collecting the highly viscous oil now leaking from the sunken vessel's tanks.
Three skimmers have been loaned to the Spanish clean-up campaign, but sufficient equipment remains in Norway to maintain emergency cover for Norne.
"We think it's positive that technology and expertise available in Norway to combat oil spills can also be used elsewhere in a good and effective way," says Stig Bergseth, Statoil's senior vice president for health, safety and the environment.
The resource group has been established by the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (Nofo), and operations director Jon Rodal has visited the wreck site.
"We're very pleased with the efficiency displayed by this equipment in collecting the thick oil," he says. "This is Norwegian technology at its best."
He adds that about 1,000 tons of oil have been collected over the past couple of days.
The Nofo spread involved in the clean-up effort comprises the Far Scout supply ship, carrying two of the skimmers, and the Boa Siv tug. These vessels deploy an ocean-going boom between them. A second spread is on its way to Spain and will arrive before the weekend, Mr. Rodal reports.
The 26-year-old Bahamas-registered Prestige ran into difficulties off the Spanish coast on November 13th. After six days, the 40,000-ton broke in two and sank in 3,500 meters of water.
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