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Spill control exercise takes place off Shetland

One of the biggest spill control exercises of its kind has just been carried out off the coast of Shetland.

The oil spill test run, code named Exercise Sula, was carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

During the spill control exercise a huge spill control boom was deployed and a Hercules plane sprayed dispersants on the water to break up the fake spill.

Before the exercise took place the director of Exercise Sula stated:

"The UK's offshore safety and environmental regulatory regime is one of the most robust in the world and the industry's record is strong.

"Nevertheless, it's right that we continue to test our response capability.

"Exercise Sula will test the participants' response to an unfolding scenario, involving the uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons into the sea from a deep water well operated by Chevron Upstream Europe at the Cambo well site, 86 miles west of Shetland.

"This exercise will give the UK an opportunity to assess its response capability to a release from a wellhead 1,000m below the surface.

"Because the exercise scenario involves the weather and tides forcing the oil to land onshore, we'll also have the opportunity to test a shoreline response in Shetland."

The exercise was held back by the difficult weather conditions and only one of the planned spill control booms was eventually deployed.

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