BP Monitoring North Sea Oil Spill
‘Most appropriate response’ is to allow oil to disperse naturally at sea, company says
BP said it is working with Oil Spill Response Limited and the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to assess the potential environmental impact. Photo: Andy Buchanan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Sarah Kent Updated Oct. 3, 2016 1:57 p.m. ET
LONDON— BP PLC is monitoring a spill in the North Sea after a technical problem on a remote platform caused a leak and forced the company to shut down production on Sunday.
The company said the leak from the Clair platform was the result of an issue with the system designed to separate water, oil and gas and lasted for an hour after the problem was detected. It estimated that about 95 tons of oil—roughly 700 barrels—had spilled into the sea. That is a fraction of the more than 3 million barrels that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s fatal blowout in 2010.
Last year, Royal Dutch Shell PLC was fined £22,500, or around $30,000, by a local Scottish court for a 2011 spill in the North Sea roughly twice the size of the leak from the Clair platform. Shell declined to comment.
BP said it is working with Oil Spill Response Limited and the U.K.’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to assess the potential environmental impact and agree on the best way to respond.
“At present, it is considered that the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared,” BP said. “The most recent surveillance flight already indicates significant dispersal of the oil at the surface.”
A spokesman for BEIS said the department is working closely with BP and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to resolve the incident. “Safety is the government’s number one priority,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement.
The Clair platform is located 75 kilometers west of the Shetland Islands. The company said the spill seems to be moving away from land at the moment.