A leak in a flow line leading to the Gannet Alpha oil platform 113 miles (180 km) off Aberdeen was found last week. Shell said it was under control, and estimated 216 tonnes – 1,300 barrels – had spilled.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was a “substantial” spill, but should disperse naturally. This is a significant spill in the context of annual amounts of oil spilled in the North Sea. The high winds and waves over the weekend have led to a substantial reduction in the size of the oil sheen as can be seen from the current levels on the water. On Monday afternoon, Shell said that the sheen from the “light crude oil with a low wax content” was 0.5 square kilometres in size.
Shell would not say how much oil had been released so far, merely describing it as “not a significant spill” and saying it had largely stemmed the leak. One of the wells at the Gannet oilfield has been closed, but the company would not say if production was reduced. The company said it had sent a clean-up vessel to the location and has a plane monitoring the surface.
The field is co-owned by Esso, a subsidiary of US oil firm Exxon but operated by Shell. (BBC)
Following an oil leak reported from Gannet F subsea installation, 176km east of Aberdeen on 10 August 2011 a DECC spokesman said:
“Shell has informed us that the oil leak at its pipeline at the Gannet Alpha platform east of Aberdeen is under control and has now been greatly reduced. They are working to completely halt any further leakage.
DECC’s environmental inspectors will continue to monitor the situation and have been working closely with the company and counterparts from the Health and Safety Executive, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Marine Scotland since the spill was reported last week.
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.
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.”
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