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Shell reports North Sea oil spill 'under control'

An oil leak in a flowline to the Gannet Alpha platform is under control, according to Shell UK Ltd., which shut in a North Sea subsea well last week, isolating and depressurizing a flowline on the seabed. UK authorities on Aug. 15 said the spill was small and unlikely to reach the shore.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said its inspectors are monitoring the situation and working closely with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which issued an Aug. 13 news release saying the spill happened Aug. 10.

Shell estimates 1,300 bbl of oil spilled into the North Sea. A remotely operated vehicle was deployed. On Aug. 13, Shell reported a sheen on the sea surface measured 31 km by 4.3 km. Weather and waves are expected to break up the sheen naturally.

“Although small in comparison to the Macondo Gulf of Mexico incident, in the context of the UK Continental Shelf, the spill is substantial, but it is not anticipated that oil will reach the shore and indeed it is expected that it will be dispersed naturally,” DECC said referring to the April 2010 blowout of a deepwater well operated by BP PLC.

“The UK Continental Shelf oil spill record is strong, which is why it is disappointing that this spill has happened,” DECC said of the Shell spill. “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.”


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