Shell closes leaking relief valve at North Sea platform

19 August 2011 18:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Shell has closed a leaking relief valve at a flowline at its Gannet Alpha oil platform in the North Sea, off the coast of Aberdeen in Scotland, the international energy and chemicals major said on Friday.

Shell will be monitoring the flowline to check that it remains sealed and then plans to remove residual oil from inside the depressurised line, it said.

Overall, around 218 tonnes, or 1,300 bbl, of oil entered the North Sea from the flowline since the problem was first detected on 10 August. The company stopped the initial release on 11 August but later reported an additional leak.

Shell added that it has deployed three vessels on site with dispersants and specialised oil spill response equipment.

“We are continuing to monitor the conditions of the sea which affect the dispersal of the oil, in conjunction with [environmental agency] Marine Scotland, and to undertake surveys of bird and marine life by air surveillance and vessels in the area,” the company said.

These surveys have indicated “no significant impact on the environment”, it added.

Meanwhile, Shell set up an investigation team to determine the cause of the leak, it said.

Shell earlier described the 1,300 bbl-spill as “significant” in the context of annual amounts of oil spilled in the North Sea. However, the incident looks minor compared with BP's Deepwater Horizon accident last year, when an estimated 4.9m barrels of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

For more on Shell and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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