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Shell pipeline spills oil into Houston area bayou

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April 4, 2013, 3:29 p.m. EDT

By Ben Lefebvre

An estimated 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipeline operated by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RSDA.LN, RDSA) into a waterway outside Houston, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Shell clean-up crews were working to clear the crude out of Vince Bayou, a waterway that connects to the Houston Ship Channel, which leads into the Gulf of Mexico, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Steven Lehman. The spill was contained but the total amount of oil was still being verified, Officer Lehman said.

“That’s a very early estimate–things can change,” Officer Lehman said.

On April 3, about 700 barrels were found to have leaked from the West Colombia pipeline because of an unknown cause, with up to 60 of those barrels emerging in the bayou, Shell spokeswoman Kim Windon said. The pipeline had been shut down and isolated on March 29 after alarms alerted the company that oil may have leaked from the line.

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