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Royal Dutch Shell says North Sea oil leak now ‘under control’

Royal Dutch Shell has said an oil leak from one of its pipelines in the North Sea is now “under control”.

Shell did not say how much oil had been released, but estimated that the size of the sea surface affected was around 31 kms by 4.3 kms at its widest point. Photo: REX

By 7:33PM BST 13 Aug 2011

The company said on Saturday that it had managed to “considerably reduce” the leak from a pipe leading to the Gannet Alpha platform, located 112 miles east of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Shell did not say how much oil had been released since the leak was found on Wednesday, but estimated that the size of the sea surface affected was around 31 kms by 4.3 kms at its widest point.

The company added that it expects “the sheen to disperse naturally through wave action and not reach the shore”.

“Shell takes all spills seriously, regardless of size and we have responded promptly to this incident,” it said in a statement.

“Our current expectation is it will be naturally dispersed through wave action and will not reach shore.”

Shell said that a remote-controlled vehicle running inspection checks and monitoring the sub-sea leak would remain at the site.

The spill, though tiny compared with the Gulf of Mexico oil slick, which covered an area of around 5,200 square kms, caused concern among politicians and environmental groups.

Juliet Swann, of environmental charity Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Given the massive economic importance of the North Sea to Scotland’s rural and business economy, the news that there has been an oil spill in our seas is deeply disturbing.

“Any spill, however small, should serve as a warning sign and encourage us to look to a clean, renewable energy future, rather than continuing to invest in dirty oil.”

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