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Shell plans to remove oil from damaged North Sea pipe, U.K. says

Houston Chronicle: August 22, 2011 at 12.31 pm by Bloomberg

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, plans to remove crude remaining in a North Sea pipeline that leaked this month, the U.K. government said.

“Shell now plans to continue to secure the pipeline to protect it from the threat of storm or tidal damage,” Hugh Shaw, a government representative overseeing the operation, said today in an e-mailed statement. The work may take about 36 hours.

Shell divers closed the Gannet Alpha platform flow line off Scotland on Aug. 19. The company identified the leak after spotting a sheen on the water on Aug. 10. The pipeline still holds as much as 660 metric tons of crude, according to Glen Cayley, an Aberdeen, Scotland-based technical director at Shell’s exploration and production unit in Europe.

About 218 tons of oil has leaked from the flow line, according to Shell. That would make it the largest U.K. spill since 2000, when about 524 tons were recorded, government data available up to 2009 show.

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