Shell admits risk of further spill
Wednesday 17 August 2011
Hundreds of tonnes of oil could still be inside an offshore pipeline which has been leaking for a week.
The estimate was revealed as Shell continues to try to stem the flow on the seabed near the Gannet Alpha platform, about 112 miles east of Aberdeen.
Since the leak started last Wednesday, more than 200 tonnes of oil has spilled into the North Sea, making it the worst single leak in the region for more than a decade.
The initial large leak was stopped the following day, but it later emerged that a smaller flow from the same source had been detected.
That leak was described as being in an "awkward" place surrounded by marine growth.
Shell technical director Glen Cayley said the company's pipeline maintenance programme had let it down, according to a report in the Press and Journal newspaper.
"We are talking about hundreds of tonnes of additional oil in the pipeline that we need to preserve and keep there," Mr Cayley told the paper.
"Until we have completely eliminated the leak and secured this pipeline, I would say there is still risk."
He added that work is continuing to figure out how to fix the breach.
Environmental groups have sharply criticised Shell for its handling of the spill, complaining about a lack of timely information.
Shell, in its last update yesterday, said the rate of leakage from the secondary breach had declined to one barrel a day.
The total spilled so far is estimated to be about 218 tonnes, which is equal to about 1,300 barrels. The overall amount of oil discharged into the North Sea in 2009 is 50.93 tonnes.
The oil sheen on the sea covers an area of about 16 square miles (41 sq km), estimated somewhere between one and 10 tonnes in volume.
The firm said the oil is not expected to reach land.
Dr Richard Dixon, of environmental charity WWF Scotland, said: "We are finally getting a fuller picture of the scale of this crisis as each bit of information is dragged out of Shell.
"What the company first dismissed as minor is now not only the biggest North Sea spill for a decade, it has the potential to go on for weeks or months, and there could be at least the same amount of oil to leak as the 200-plus tonnes that has already escaped."
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...