Shell: Oil leaking in UK North Sea slows to 1 barrel a day

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) (NYSE: RDS.B) has progressed efforts to stop oil leaking from a subsea flowline at the Alpha Gannet platform in the UK North Sea, slowing the leak to less than a barrel a day.

Shell has deployed divers, as well as ROVs to remove panels and grating to determine if the company can safely close the valve.

Additionally, in secure the flowline, Shell depressurized the line to reduce the amount of oil leaking from it, but this resulted in some buoyancy in the pipeline. Shell will deploy a rock mattress to secure the pipeline.

Shell is also progressing subsea containment options as a long-term option for stopping the leaking oil.

“I must stress again how much we regret this incident, that the situation is under control and we are working towards a swift solution,” said Glen Cayley, technical director of Shel’s exploration and production activities in Europe. “However I cannot stress enough the need to undertake detailed risk assessments and ensure any work considered is undertaken safely.” 

Oil began leaking from the subsea flowline on Wednesday of last week. Shell shut-in the faulty flowline at the Gannet oil field, the company continues to work to stop the oil remaining in the line from spilling into the sea. 

An estimated 1,300 barrels of oil have spilled, but Shell and regulators believe that the hydrocarbon will naturally disperse before reaching the UK shoreline due to high wind and waves. 

Gannet is located in the Central UK North Sea, about 180 kilometers east of Aberdeen. Shell UK serves as the operator of the field on behalf of Esso Exploration.

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