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Shell fined £22,500 by Scottish court for 2011 North Sea oil spill

24 November 2015

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell was handed a fine of £22,500 by Aberdeen Sheriff Court after it pleaded guilty to a 2011 oil spill of more than 200 tonnes in the North Sea’s Gannet field. The leak was from a cracked subsea pipeline and Shell said it accepted the charge has since carried out a review of its North Sea pipeline system and had applied lessons learned across all its British operations.

Stock image
Stock image

The leak, 300 feet (90m) below the surface, was eventually brought under control, however the actions caused a second leak to start, which on its own was spilling at a rate of 80 gallons of crude oil per day. The leak was first spotted, by an offshore helicopter flight to the platform, 113 miles (180km) due east of Aberdeen.

"We deeply regret the Gannet spill and accept the fine which has been handed down to us. We know that no spill is acceptable," said Shell's Upstream Director for the UK and Ireland, Paul Goodfellow, in a statement.

The court heard Shell's overall costs arising from this incident were estimated at about £45m, and the cost of replacing the pipeline was about £100m.

Environmental campaigners said the fine was too small considering Shell's failings to protect the marine environment. "Despite being responsible for the worst North Sea spill in a decade, the level of the fine is literally a drop in the ocean when compared to the billions earned by Shell annually," said Lang Banks, director at WWF Scotland.

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