The claim: Shell's Mars B/Olympus oil platform has "broken loose"
After Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, energy companies assessed the damage to oil production hubs in the Gulf of Mexico.
On social media, some people claimed Shell's Mars B/Olympus project, the company's seventh and largest deep-water platform in the Gulf of Mexico, had broken loose.
"BREAKING NEWS: Mississippi Weather Network sources have confirmed that the Shell Mars / Olympus Deep Water oil platform has broken loose," reads a screenshot of a post from the Mississippi Weather Network that was shared to Facebook on Aug. 29.
The post, published by the page First Coast Tropics Watch, claimed the platform "is now free within the Gulf of Mexico." The post had more than 200 shares before it was deleted, and similar versions of the claim are circulating on Facebook.
Mississippi Weather Network, however, says it has since retracted the report.
"The source of our information has always conveyed both reliable and credible information about weather events and the effects it has on drilling operations in The Gulf of Mexico," Mississippi Weather Network said in a message to USA TODAY. "This time, however, we were unable to independently confirm our source's information and issued a retraction as quickly as possible."
USA TODAY reached out to First Coast Tropics Watch for comment.
Shell says oil platform did not break loose
The U.S. Coast Guard and Shell said the Olympus deep-water oil platform, as well as another platform, were still in place.
"Shell conducted a flyover for an initial assessment of assets that were in the path of the storm and was able to confirm that Mars, Olympus and Ursa are all intact and on location," the company said in an Aug. 30 statement.
We’ve conducted a flyover for an initial assessment of our assets that were in the path of #Ida and can confirm that Mars, Olympus and Ursa are all intact and on location. We’re working to conduct assessments of land-based infrastructure at this time. https://t.co/0hV4JBvAYF
— Shell US (@Shell_US) August 31, 2021
In another statement, Shell said the Coast Guard reported "visual confirmation" that "Shell-operated Mars, Olympus, and Ursa platforms remain on location."
Approximately 279 offshore oil and gas platforms were evacuated ahead of Hurricane Ida, and production was temporarily halted, per the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Shell's Mars B/Olympus oil platform broke loose. The company and the U.S. Coast Guard said flyovers confirmed the platform was still intact.
Our fact-check sources:
Shell US, Aug. 30, Tweet
Shell US, Aug. 30, Hurricane Ida- Update #8
Shell US, Aug. 30, Hurricane Ida-Update #7
The Associated Press, Sept. 1, Aerial Photos Show A Miles-Long Black Slick In Water Near A Gulf Oil Rig After Ida
U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Aug. 28, BSEE Monitors Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Activities in Response to Hurricane Ida
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Shell's Olympus oil platform did not break loose