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Shell oil spill in the North Sea estimated at more than 1,300 barrels


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Shell oil spill in the North Sea estimated at more than 1,300 barrels

2011-08-16 07:18:31 GMT+7 (ICT)

LONDON (BNO NEWS) -- The amount of oil which has spilled into the North Sea from a leak at one of Shell's pipelines serving the Gannet Alpha platform has been estimated at 216 tons (1,300 barrels), a Shell spokesman said on Monday.

After receiving criticism for not disclosing information about last week's oil spill, Shell's Technical director of exploration and production activities in Europe, Glen Cayley, made a statement on Monday to reveal the size of the spill.

Cayley said that the oil leak which occurred in a platform 180 kilometers (113 miles) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, was now "under control" but works continue to stop the remaining oil in the flow line from leaking.

The Shell spokesman also said that it is hard to quantify the total volume spilled but estimated it at some 216 tons (1,300 barrels) with a residual leak of about 5 barrels a day. The volume on the surface of the sea, which changes from day to day, is about one ton (six barrels), Cayley added.

A spokesman for the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that Shell had informed them of the size of the spill and that it had been "greatly reduced" since. "They are working to completely halt any further leakage," he added.

DECC said last week's incident was small in comparison with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which was the largest ever after releasing 4.9 million barrels (780,000 cubic meters) of oil into the sea. However, "in the context of the UK Continental Shelf, the spill [in the North Sea] is substantial," DECC said.

Cayley further stated that a special team remains in place and that they are working with the proper authorities to manage the incident and minimize environmental impact. "We continue to expect that the oil sheen will disperse naturally due to wave action and that it will not reach the shore," Cayley assured.

Meanwhile, the DECC spokesman said the department's environmental inspectors continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with the oil company and counterparts from the Health and Safety Executive, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Marine Scotland since the spill was reported last week.

"The UK Continental Shelf oil spill record is strong which is why it is disappointing that this spill has happened. We take any spill very seriously and we will be investigating the causes of the spill and learning any lessons from the response to it," the DECC spokesman added.

Two weeks ago, oil giant Shell admitted responsibility for two devastating oil spills in Nigeria's Ogoniland region where thousands of gallons were spilled in 2008 and 2009, affecting the livelihoods of 69,000 people. It will take at least 20 years to clean it up.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-16

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