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Vladimir Putin told a defence ministry meeting that he wished to see the military bolster its presence in the territory

North Sea gas plant came close to disaster

A GAS storage platform in the North Sea, with 70 workers on board, has been close to disaster twice this year after two serious gas leaks, which have been blamed on managerial mistakes.

North Sea gas leaks linked to flaw that caused Piper Alpha disaster flaw

A GAS storage platform in the North Sea, with 70 workers on board, has been close to disaster twice this year after two serious gas leaks.

Government wants right to dump 60 oil platforms in North Sea

THE Government is seeking the option of dumping more than 60 oil platforms in the North Sea when they come to the end of their natural lives, despite the international protests provoked by the attempt to dump the giant oil storage buoy Brent Spar.

North Sea oil fields in danger as prices dive

BRITAIN's largest exploration and production company yesterday issued a stark warning that development of the giant Clair Field and some of the 140 small North Sea oil accumulations could be postponed because of rock-bottom oil prices.

Spill closes North Sea oil field

The oil giant Texaco said it had temporarily shut down its Captain field in the North Sea after about seven tonnes of oil were spilled into the sea. A spokesman said the shutdown was ordered early yesterday morning after an incident on the floating production, storage and offloading vessel which serves the wellhead platform.

Minke whale death toll doubles

Fears for the future of minke whales in the North Sea have increased after Norwegian whalers more than doubled their kills. Norway's whaling fleet killed 57 minkes during the latest season, compared with only 23 last year, according to its own figures.

Gulf bid for Clyde escapes MMC referral

Gulf Canada's pounds 432m bid for Clyde Petroleum was given the go-ahead by the Department of Trade and Industry yesterday, which said it had no plans to refer the offer to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The decision increases the pressure on Clyde to convince investors that the 105p-a-share offer represents a dramatic undervaluation of the oil producer's potential.

Shell floats a greener future for the North Sea oil platform no one wanted

The first and most difficult step is to raise the Brent Spar (main picture) out of its deep-water, vertical position so that it can be brought ashore. This could be done by gradually pumping in compressed gas (1), which will in turn pump out the oily sea water inside into a nearby tanker. Slowly, like a huge bottle, the Spar would rise to float on its side - but the danger is that the structure would split and sink, because it was weakened when it was first placed in the vertical position after construction 20 years ago.

Britons to walk on Artic sea

Two British explorers are hoping to become the first men to walk unsupported across the frozen Arctic Ocean. Dr Stephen Martin and David Mitchell plan to begin their trek in the spring.

British Gas gets it wrong again: Comment

Another day, another farce in the affairs of that much loved company, British Gas. This time British Gas has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown on the legal action it launched against the Government last summer to recover pounds 1.2bn in North Sea gas levies. We don't have a case after all, BG admitted yesterday. Which rather begs the question of why it came to launch such a no-hoper in the first place.

Licences for oil exploration to go to highest bidder

Oil exploration licences are to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for the first time in an attempt to encourage greater exploitation of mature areas of the North Sea, the Government announced yesterday.

Poetic licence: The Iso-Bard

Two North American weather channels are aiming to revolutionise TV weather forecasts. But could they ever have the poetry of our home- grown product?

PICK OF THE DAY THIS WEEKEND/Windsurfing North Sea Cup Hythe

The third and penultimate leg of the North Sea Cup and the third round of the United Kingdom Boardsailing Association's National Series at Hythe, Kent, this weekend comprise the largest and most competitive windsurfing regatta in Britain this season, with a fleet of more than 200 sailors. The North Sea Cup, contested by Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, will have an overseas contingent of 70-plus Aloha and Raceboard sailors making their way across the Channel. Among the British entry will be Mark Kay, the Manchester windsurfer who was last year's winner of the Cup series. Racing starts at noon tomorrow allowing the Continental competitors time to reach Hythe and the massed start of the main fleet will be quite a spectacle from the seafront when competition gets under way amid the blaze of multi-coloured sails.

Escape route for British Gas

BRITISH GAS could have deflated its pounds 1.14bn gas bubble that now threatens to cost customers an average of pounds 63 - and made a profit doing so, it has emerged.

Piper Alpha claim

Piper Alpha claim
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected