Shell reports oil leak at North Sea platform

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stock image of an oil platform.
Image: Manchot sanguinaire.

Oil producer Royal Dutch Shell has confirmed that the Gannet Alpha oil platform, located 112 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, has suffered a leak from an underwater pipeline between the wellhead and platform.

Shell issued a statement regarding the incident, saying that "We can confirm we are managing an oil leak in a flow line that serves the Gannet Alpha platform. [...] We have stemmed the leak significantly and we are taking further measures to isolate it. The subsea well has been shut in, and the flow line is being depressurised." The company has thus far refused to comment on the exact size of the leak, saying that was "not a significant spill."

According to a Shell spokesperson, a remote submarine was deployed after a sheen was noticed in the water surrounding the platform; since then, a craft has been brought in to monitor water conditions in the area.

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change has begun an investigation of the leak, with the Scottish government and Marine Scotland also involved in monitoring the situation.