From 22 to 30 April 1977, an oil and natural gas blow-out occurred in well B-14 of the Phillips Petroleum Company's Bravo production platform in the Norwegian Ekofisk field. The platform is located about 300 km south-west of the Ekofisk oil field centre.
The blow-out caused the first major release of oil in the North Sea. A mixture of oil and mud spurted up to 50 m into the air above the offshore drilling rig. The 112 crew members were safely evacuated. The blow-out resulted in the continuous release of about 30,000 tonnes of oil from a pipe 20 metres above the sea surface until the leak was finally stopped seven days later on 30 April, a delay caused by poor weather conditions and hazardous gas accumulations.
A large part of the oil (30 - 40 %) rapidly evaporated due to higher than average air temperatures. The remaining oil slicks were monitored using three satellite-monitored drift buoys and around 2,000 plastic-wrapped drift cards. The oil was gradually broken down by wave action.
No shorelines were oiled and the Norwegian Pollution Control Board declared that no major ecological damage resulted from the spill.
Date: 22 April 1977
Accident area : North Sea
Cause of spill : blow-out
Type of pollutant : Ekofisk crude oil
Quantity spilled : 32,200 tonnes
Structure type : offshore platform
Last update: 11/05/2010