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Royal Dutch Shell shuts rig after leak of drilling fluid

First Posted: December 19, 2011

NEW ORLEANS — Royal Dutch Shell says it has shut down an offshore drilling rig off the coast of Alabama following a leak of drilling fluid.

Shell says 319 barrels of the synthetic and biodegradable fluid leaked from a booster line. The Coast Guard says the leak was reported Sunday and that the line was connected to a vessel supplying the drilling fluid.

The Southern Environmental Law Center says the drilling is part of an exploration plan challenged in federal court by several environmental groups.

Shell says the incident had nothing to do with the wellbore at the site, located in the Gulf’s Mississippi Canyon region where the 2010 BP oil spill occurred. Shell says the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved a plan to temporarily stop drilling and make repairs.

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