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Hurricane Dorian Rips Roofs Off Bahamas Oil Storage Tanks, Causes ‘Catastrophic’ Spillage

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(Bloomberg) — Hurricane Dorian has left oil seeping into the ground on the island of Grand Bahama after the storm blew the tops off five crude-storage tanks on the island.

“According to the information we have right now, the roofs of five tanks are gone,” Norway’s Equinor ASA, which owns the storage facilities, said in a statement. “We do not know if they are been carried away by the winds or fallen into the tanks.”

Equinor said Thursday that a flyover it conducted showed oil had seeped into the ground but not the sea. The tanks can hold 6.75 million barrels — almost 1 million tons. The terminal was shut on Saturday in preparation for the storm and will stay closed until further notice, the company said Friday.

A video tweeted by Coral Vita, which works to protect coral reefs on the island, appeared to show that crude reached a nearby road and was outside a perimeter fence.

The environmental impact from the spill is one of many brutal blows for Grand Bahama after the storm put large tracts of the Bahamian island under water and left thousands homeless.

Equinor said Friday that it’s still too soon to estimate how long the response will take and that it doesn’t have information about oil reaching the sea.

“The situation in the Bahamas is still challenging and infrastructure has sustained severe damage,” Equinor said. “All required resources are being mustered and our primary concern is to ensure the safety of our employees and the environment. We are mobilizing people and equipment to respond to the spill as soon as possible.”

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