News

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
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there