By Ben Geman - 04/12/12 04:42 PM EDT
Thursday the company estimated that the sheen was six barrels worth of oil. The 2010 BP oil spill, in contrast, dumped more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over several months.
“Shell is continuing to cooperate with federal regulators in their efforts to determine the cause and nature of the sheen,” the company said.
Shell added that while it is “confident at this time” that the sheen didn’t originate with its operations, they are continuing to respond out of “prudent caution.”
The company has mobilized a skimming vessel from the nonprofit Marine Spill Response Corporation that is “on station and remains ready to respond.”
Shell also said it has taken steps including deployment of two remote operating vehicles to “inspect Shell and non-Shell infrastructure “ and search for naturally occurring oil seeps in the area.
Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said it had ordered the seafloor probe.
The Coast Guard and BSEE on Thursday surveyed the area from the air.
In addition, “BSEE has identified pipelines in the immediate area and has directed the pipeline operators to begin survey of their lines,” the Interior bureau said Thursday.
“In coordination with the USCG, BSEE will continue to coordinate efforts to identify the source and monitor any potential pollution,” the bureau said.