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Oil Leak Forces BP To Shut Platform In North Sea

BP (NYSE:BP) has shut down its Clair platform in the North Sea after a still unknown quantity of oil leaked into the sea as a result of a “technical issue” on Sunday morning UK time.

“The Clair platform, which is located 75km (46 miles) west of Shetland, has been shut down and the release has been stopped. All personnel have been accounted for and there are no injuries. We are investigating the cause of the technical issue and monitoring the situation. All relevant authorities have been informed,” the BBC quoted a BP spokesman as saying.

Lang Banks, director of environmental charity at WWF Scotland, said that it’s important to know how much crude oil has leaked in the interest of protecting marine environment.

“The total oil in water volume that was released has yet to be accurately assessed and work to determine this is ongoing,” BP has said and added:

“At present, we believe the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared.”

According to Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, as quoted by the BBC:

“Marine Scotland have advised that allowing the oil to weather naturally is the least harmful option for this internationally important marine habitat.”

Industry, government and BP officials, as well as and environmentalists, will be keeping a close eye to the oil spill off Shetland, given the notoriety BP has gained with the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

Upon announcing BP’s second-quarter figures in July, chief executive Bob Dudley said: “We are very pleased to have finally drawn a line under the material liabilities for Deepwater Horizon.”

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That line was total liabilities of US$61.6 billion.

Update: BP has estimated that about 95 tonnes of oil spilled from its Clair platform

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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