Shell Working to Contain North Sea Spill

Shell is working to contain an oil spill from one of its pipelines in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. The crew on an oil platform there first observed a light sheen in the water last Wednesday. Around 1,300 barrels of oil have spilled so far into the sea. The company was able to shut down the main leak but oil is still flowing from a small valve at the rate of about one barrel of oil per day. Curtis Smith is a spokesperson for the company in Alaska.

The company is hoping to drill several exploration wells in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The federal government gave conditional approval earlier this month to Shell’s plan to drill in the Beaufort Sea. But environmental groups have been critical of the plan, saying Shell isn’t ready to clean up a potential oil spill in icy Arctic waters. Rebecca Noblin, with the Center for Biological Diversity says the company isn’t doing an adequate job cleaning up the North Sea spill.

Shell says the impact to wildlife from the spilled oil in the North Sea has been minimal. And the company points out its Arctic Ocean wells are nothing like the production well that is leaking in the North Sea. Smith says the company is confident it can operate safely in Alaska.

Smith says he can’t speculate on when the oil spill in the North Sea will be contained.

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