No environmental damage after oil leak from North Sea platform

Oil spilled from the Tern platform 105 miles north-east of Lerwick this week but authorities say there was no environmental damage.

Twenty-three tonnes leaked on Tuesday from the platform operated by TAQA Bratani, owned by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company which bought over most of the Brent system from Shell in 2008.

A Marine Scotland spokesman said: “There is no ongoing leakage or further issue as far as we understand.

“Due to the remote location of the rig, and the fact it was very rough weather at the time, we understand the oil dispersed quickly.

“We do not believe there are any environmental concerns at this time.”

However Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This significant oil spill happened off the north-east of Shetland just two days before the UK Government gave consent to BP for oil exploration in the deep waters off the north west of Shetland.

“How strange that we should only hear about it after that announcement, even though it happened beforehand and the UK Department of Energy was aware of it! Once again, we see suggestions that the UK government is in cahoots with the big polluters.

“Only yesterday we were warning that Scotland should be seeking to end its addiction to oil and instead investing in clean, renewable energy solutions, and today we see yet more evidence of why this really must be the case.”

A spokesman from TAQA Bratani said the leak was the result of a “temporary upset in the production process whilst cleaning up a new well”.

Derek Howden, TAQA health, safety and environment manager, said: “We immediately put into action our response plan which outlines the steps to be taken in the case of any hydrocarbon release.

“In close cooperation with DECC it was agreed that the best action, with the least impact on the environment, was to let the oil disperse naturally rather than using a dispersant.

“This strategy was successful and the oil has since dispersed. TAQA immediately set up an investigation team to learn the lessons and prevent recurrence.”


Add Your Comment
  • phili smith

    • March 23rd, 2012 19:22

    I know Shetland needs money from oil ( windfarms irrevevent).
    But you have to doubt the sincerity.

  • Colin Megson

    • March 23rd, 2012 21:43

    However Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
    “…..Only yesterday we were warning that Scotland should be seeking to end its addiction to oil and instead investing in clean, renewable energy solutions…..”

    But how green are renewable energy solution? Not as green as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace would have you believe:

  • Jonathan Wills

    • March 24th, 2012 9:28

    Once again, the UK Goverment covers up an embarrassing oil spill on behalf of it’s patrons, the oil industry. The Coastguards heard about it three days later – from Radio Shetland!
    The explanation given to the BBC was the usual techno-gobbledegook about “excursions” and “assets”. What the Taqa spokesman meant to say was that the equipment designed to clean oily water from the well failed to handle a large slug of oily gug coming out of the well. As a result, there were 16 parts of oil in every hundred parts of water dumped over the side of the platform, rather than the 25 parts per million, or less, that are allowed by law.
    So who monitors what’s going on out there? And are there ever surprise inspections? These are old questions. The answers to date are unsatisfactory.
    And then we are told there’s no environmental concern. Baloney! At this time of year huge numbers of seabirds are out there, on their way to shore colonies for the breeding season. And what about the damage to zooplankton? Are we to believe that Taqa has just magicked the oil away? How stupid do these arrogant public relations drones think we are?


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