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Shell Reports Gulf Drilling Spill

By DANIEL GILBERT

HOUSTON—Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Monday said it had temporarily abandoned a deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico after it spilled 319 barrels of fluid used to drill the well.

A company spokeswoman said the leak on its Deepwater Nautilus rig occurred Sunday while drilling the well in about 7,200 feet of water southeast of New Orleans.

Shell has stopped the leak and will temporarily abandon the well while it makes repairs, said spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh. She didn’t have an estimate of how long the repairs would take.

The company said federal regulators have approved its plan, which involves removing underwater pipeline that connects the rig to the blowout preventer on the seafloor.

Shell wasn’t involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill last year in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Deepwater Nautilus rig it is using has the exact same design and is considered a “sister” rig of the Deepwater Horizon.

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