Hurricane Dorian causes oil spill on Grand Bahama Island after damaging petroleum storage facility

Hurricane Dorian caused a significant oil spill after damaging a storage facility along the eastern shore of Grand Bahama Island.

The facility appeared to suffer heavy damage, according to a statement from Equinor, the company that runs the storage area. The South Riding Point facility contains 10 large storage tanks that can hold up to 6.75 million barrels of crude oil and condensate.

A spokesperson for the company told NPR that there were 1.8 million barrels of oil on site when Dorian struck the island as a Category 5 storm. It is unclear how much oil has leaked, but Equinor did say oil was in areas outside of the facility.

“It is too early to indicate any volumes. At this point there are no observations of any spill at sea,” Equinor’s statement said.

In photos from Maxar, a satellite company, the facility had roofs missing on some of the large storage basins and a slick of black oil seeping from the terminal.

Coral Vita, an organization focused on restoring the world’s coral reef systems, had employees drive by the storage facility. The video showed black gunk on the sides of some of the large tanks and what appeared to be oil along a nearby road.

In a tweet, the organization shared the video and called on Equinor to fix the problem immediately.



In Equinor’s statement, there were only 54 personnel at the South Riding Point terminal until a precautionary shutdown on Aug. 31.

Following news of a spill, the company said it sent an oil spill resources team out to the area and they were expected to report back a damage assessment as soon as possible.

Equinor is an international oil company that is majority-owned by the Norwegian government.

Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas with 185 mph winds on Sunday, obliterating countless homes and killing at least 30 people. The death toll was expected to rise significantly, according to Bahamian officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.