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North Sea Leak Under Control

15 August 2011

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said an oil leak from its Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea 'is under control.' The company has 'isolated and depressurized' the flowline leading from the subsea well off Aberdeen, Scotland, said Bill Tanner, a company spokesman, in an e-mailed statement. The company deployed a remoteoperated vehicle after a light sheen was discovered and a stand-by vessel is at the scene with oil- spill response equipment and dispersant, Tanner said.

An oil sheen estimated to be 31 km (19 miles) by 4.3 km at its widest point is floating on the surface and moving west, Tanner said in an e-mailed statement. "Our current expectation is it will be naturally dispersed through wave action and will not reach shore, Tanner said. Shell operates the platform, 180 kilometers east of Aberdeen, in waters about 95 meters deep, according to its website. Exxon Mobil Corp. is a partner.

The leak may be about 100 metric tonnes of oil, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond said told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview earlier today. He said he was pleased with the way the operation to stem the leak is going. One-hundred tons of oil is equivalent to about 730 barrels, according to conversions on BP Plc's website. Shell is working with the regulators to assess the size of the sheen and possible effects on other operations, Tanner said.