Shell acts to finally plug leak
Progress in North Sea
THE chance of a major oil spill in the North Sea seemed to have been avoided today after Shell confirmed it had begun the first step towards finally stopping the leak.
Five concrete “mattresses” have already been sent down to be laid on the oil pipe and more are due to be sent to ensure the pipeline is secure.
It will pave the way for the next stage of the project at the Gannet Alpha Platform in the North Sea, that will see the firm try to secure the valve that was still leaking oil at the rate of one barrel a day.
A spokeswoman for Shell said the pipe had been depressurised, so the estimated 660 tonnes of oil still in the well would not leak out.
Shell said an area of 250sq km was now affected.
Glen Cayley, Shell’s Aberdeen-based technical director of exploration and production activities in Europe, said: “We continue to make good progress to stop the residual leak from the flowline to the Gannet platform.
“Throughout these operations, safety remains our first priority.”
It is now more than a week since the first leak occurred at the Gannet Alpha Platform 112 miles east of Aberdeen.
Although Shell said it had stopped the first, more serious, leak, which saw 216 tonnes leak into the water, a second leak was spotted in the valve of the pipe.
As reported in later editions of the Evening Express yesterday, the firm has come under pressure to make public its most recent pipeline inspection report.
OPERATION: An artist’s impression of the concrete mattress being used to try to stop the pipeline breaking free.