www.bbc.co.uk 16th August 2011
Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has revealed to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that they have discovered a second leak beneath their Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea, some 113 miles off Aberdeen. The first leak was found last weekalthough the company refused to say how much oil had been spilt. However, with the new discovery it is understood that around 1,300 barrels, or 216 tonnes, of “light crude oil with a low wax content” has been released into the marine environment creating a visible sheen on the sea’s surface about 0.5km wide. A DECC spokesman stated, “although small in comparison to the Macondo, Gulf of Mexico, incident, in the context of the UK Continental Shelf the spill is substantial. But it is not anticipated that oil will reach the shore and indeed it is expected that it will be dispersed naturally.” The leak, according to Shell’s technical director of exploration and production (Europe) Glen Cayley, is in a difficult area to access with a large amount of “marine growth”. ”It’s taken our diving crews some time to establish exactly and precisely where that leak is coming from,” he said. The Gannet oil field, owned by American oil giant Exxon and operated by Shell, has produced around 13,500 barrels a day this year.