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Norway attacks Shell for near spill

Norway's oil-safety watchdog criticised Shell yesterday for an oil-well incident it said had the potential for a major accident and could have caused a leak.

The incident took place last December at the Draugen platform in the Norwegian Sea when engineers attempted to replace a gas-lift valve in the well.

Shell was the operator and the oilfield-services firm Seawell was the contractor. During the procedure, a separate piece of equipment got stuck, leaving only one of the two barriers in the well that is needed to prevent an oil spill.

The watchdog ordered Shell to revise its procedures. It said the firm had breached several regulations and had inadequate management, risk assessment, well barriers, well controls and daily reporting.