Shell continues North Sea oil leak containment operations

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – Shell says it has the oil leak from its Gannet field facilities in the UK North Sea under control.

Glen Cayley, technical director of Shell’s exploration and production activities in Europe, said: “We are making good progress in stopping the leakage from the flowline to the Gannet platform. As mentioned yesterday the flow rate currently stands at less than one barrel a day.”

Today Shell planned to deploy divers and ROVs to remove panels and gratings in order to assess the feasibility of closing the valve safely.

Further efforts are under way to secure the flowline. To ensure the stability of the flowline and to decrease the leak, Shell depressurized the line. This has generated some buoyancy in the line, which will be addressed through use of rock mattresses.

Containment options are also under review as a longer-term solution.

Hugh Shaw, the UK Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention said in Aberdeen yesterday:

“Based on the latest intelligence that I have, my view is that the oil leak is under control and has now been greatly reduced as validated by ROV footage and government aerial surveillance flights. The priority now and over the coming days is to completely halt any further leakage in what is a complex environment.

“Although the spill was deemed as significant, our information is still that the oil is not expected to reach the shore, and that it will be dispersed naturally.

”It will be for the Department of Environment and Climate Change and the HSE inspectors to thoroughly investigate the causes of this incident, and once the full report is completed, it will be sent the Scottish Procurator Fiscal who will consider it and make a decision on further action.”


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