British Petroleum (BP) has allegedly been dumping industrial waste at sea after the UK’s decommissioning regulator gave it clearance to drop thousands of tons of oil pipes and cables in a legally protected marine wildlife zone in the Atlantic.
According to reports, BP has sought approval to dump 14 pipes and control cables onto a marine protection area (MPA), 120 miles west of Shetland, and then eventually drop all BP’s floating ship’s steel mooring lines and anchors on the same site, totaling 4,180 tons.
The MPA designation was because of the gravel ecosystem, rare giant deep-sea sponges, and ocean quahog, a very slow-growing mollusk,” known to live up to 500 years in the area.
BP claimed dumping the cables would not affect the seabed and would still allow recovery of the pipes.
“Our plans to recover and dispose of the Foinaven risers and our commitments to minimize the impact on the environment as part of our decommissioning process remain unchanged,” BP said.
However, reports said that BP’s riser cables weighing almost 2,400 tons would cost tens of millions to retrieve and need special retrieval ships and underwater vessels.
“Since the regulator has given permission for the risers simply to be dropped, with the potential for far greater impact on the seabed and making future recovery far less likely, this could set a precedent for other oil and gas companies to do the same,” Greenpeace UK Chief Scientist Dr. Doug Parr said.
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