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Shell oil spill in North Sea causes concern

Oil spilled into the North Sea from a Shell oil rig is the worst leak in a decade say environmentalists.

The Gannet Shell oil platform started to leak oil over two weeks ago now, with over 216 tonnes of oil already spilled into the sea around the leak area. The amount of oil which has leaked has already surpassed the annual totals for the area seen over the last decade.

The leak has been slowed significantly since it was first noticed however, with only around one barrel per day now leaking from a section of damaged pipe. But, environmentalist’s still say that the oil, which has now mostly dispersed by natural means, still poses a “serious risk” to the local bird population.

Around a week after the spill, the technical director of Shell’s activities in Europe, Glen Cayley, stated:

"This is a significant spill in the context of annual amounts of oil spilled in the North Sea.

"We care about the environment and we regret that the spill happened. We have taken it very seriously and responded promptly to it.

"The high winds and waves over the weekend have led to a substantial reduction in the size of the oil sheen as can be seen from the current levels on the water.

"We continue to expect that the oil sheen will disperse due to wave action and that it will not reach the shore."

Discussions are now taking place between government advisors and the Scottish Procurator Fiscal as to whether to prosecute Shell for the leak.

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