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Oil leaking into the north sea near Aberdeen


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Shell refusing to say how much is leaking, twitter reports suggest they've known about this since wednesday:

BBC News - Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform

This link says there was 10 leaks in 2009/10 one of which was described as significant. Why wasn't that reported at the time? Why do they only have to declare leaks if they're in the mood to do so? Surely it should be mandatory to declare leaks.

Shell Fighting Oil Spill At North Sea Platform - FoxBusiness.com

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Shell refusing to say how much is leaking, twitter reports suggest they've known about this since wednesday:

BBC News - Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform

This link says there was 10 leaks in 2009/10 one of which was described as significant. Why wasn't that reported at the time? Why do they only have to declare leaks if they're in the mood to do so? Surely it should be mandatory to declare leaks.

Shell Fighting Oil Spill At North Sea Platform - FoxBusiness.com

It is mandatory to report leaks. Every single incident is reported to the Health and Safety Executive. No matter how minor.

Those 10 leaks might not fill a coke can, but they're reported.

I don't really like defending the industry but every single operator I've worked for claims safety is their number one priority and they have countless procedures for reporting and monitoring safety incidents on a platform. The absolute worst thing that can happen is for hydrocarbon to be exposed and they take that very seriously. Not least because it can lead to the destruction of the platform in the worst case scenario and the loss of life.

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it's just weird the way the fox report phrases those 10 leaks as voluntarily declared though.

also, of course safety is their priority. it doesn't mean we shouldn't still be concerned when there's leaks and ask for more information. the government could make viewing response plans part of the licence process for instance.

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Oh absolutely it's fine to question and demand answers but you also need to be patient. I know oil companies can be slippery bastards but at the same time they don't want oil and gas to get out of their systems as it greatly increases the chance that they will lose personnel and possibly the platform itself. They'll have emergency response procedures in place and as soon as the oil was spotted those will have kicked in and they'll be working to resolve it

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Oh absolutely it's fine to question and demand answers but you also need to be patient. I know oil companies can be slippery bastards but at the same time they don't want oil and gas to get out of their systems as it greatly increases the chance that they will lose personnel and possibly the platform itself. They'll have emergency response procedures in place and as soon as the oil was spotted those will have kicked in and they'll be working to resolve it

but are those responses robust enough, are they done to minimise risk to the company or the environment? at the moment there is no obligation to show those procedures to regulators and while you have confidence the emergency response procedures in the gulf of mexico were pretty inadequate. nigeria's been pretty poor too.

it's not enough to simply be confident that they'll be doing something.

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but are those responses robust enough, are they done to minimise risk to the company or the environment? at the moment there is no obligation to show those procedures to regulators and while you have confidence the emergency response procedures in the gulf of mexico were pretty inadequate. nigeria's been pretty poor too.

it's not enough to simply be confident that they'll be doing something.

This isn't Nigeria! The regulation is MUCH tougher here. There may have been mistakes made this week, but these will come out in time and it will be public. Oil producers in the North Sea do get prosecuted for fucking up on safety and the environment and when that happens it is reported.

I can't speak for Shell or Esso as I've never worked for them but the ones I have worked for have made it clear that they are concerned with minimising the risk not just to their profits but to their personnel and the environment as well. The regulation in the North Sea is too tight and the pressure that can be placed on them by the media is too great for them to think otherwise.

They've shut down production, they're managing the leak and working to isolate it. The HSE, Scottish Government, Environment Agency etc. are all working wth them and monitoring the situation. I just don't know what else you expect them to do or to happen?

If there's something they should be doing that they're not it will be investigated by the HSE.

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This isn't Nigeria! The regulation is MUCH tougher here. There may have been mistakes made this week, but these will come out in time and it will be public. Oil producers in the North Sea do get prosecuted for fucking up on safety and the environment and when that happens it is reported.

I can't speak for Shell or Esso as I've never worked for them but the ones I have worked for have made it clear that they are concerned with minimising the risk not just to their profits but to their personnel and the environment as well. The regulation in the North Sea is too tight and the pressure that can be placed on them by the media is too great for them to think otherwise.

They've shut down production, they're managing the leak and working to isolate it. The HSE, Scottish Government, Environment Agency etc. are all working wth them and monitoring the situation. I just don't know what else you expect them to do or to happen?

If there's something they should be doing that they're not it will be investigated by the HSE.

I'm not arguing with you on any point you've made. All I'm saying is that it's fine for you to have confidence in them but we shouldn't just take their word that everything's fine. If we focus attention on companies operating in the north sea (and further afield) then it ensures they act on their promises and obligations.

The only other thing I would expect is that they show their response policies to government as a part of the licence procedure and they actually tell us how much has leaked and how it will be cleaned up. that's reasonable isn't it?

And just because this isn't Nigeria doesn't mean that's ok either. These companies are operating in those areas and their practices there don't inspire confidence here.

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it's just weird the way the fox report phrases those 10 leaks as voluntarily declared though.

also, of course safety is their priority. it doesn't mean we shouldn't still be concerned when there's leaks and ask for more information. the government could make viewing response plans part of the licence process for instance.

The government DOES view response plans. Every well drilled in the North Sea requires a spill plan to be provided as part of the permitting process. Since Macondo these requirements have been tightened and are now one of the biggest hold-ups to drilling permits being issued. The govt regulations in the UK are probably the tightest anywhere in the world.

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The government DOES view response plans. Every well drilled in the North Sea requires a spill plan to be provided as part of the permitting process. Since Macondo these requirements have been tightened and are now one of the biggest hold-ups to drilling permits being issued. The govt regulations in the UK are probably the tightest anywhere in the world.

cool, thanks for clearing that up. wonder why patrick harvie was calling for it to part of the licencing process this morning then? you'd think someone would point that out.

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Probably because he knows fuck all about how the industry actually works, much like everyone else who sits outside it bemoaning how evil it is.

aye but as the convener of the greens and one time convener of the transport, infrastructure and climate change committee for the scottish parliament, one would assume he's well briefed by actual experts. politicians can't be experts on everything they talk about but they should have advisers who are. I'd hope he does have some insight into how the industry works though, aside from it's general evilness of course.

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cool, thanks for clearing that up. wonder why patrick harvie was calling for it to part of the licencing process this morning then? you'd think someone would point that out.

The licensing process and the drilling permitting process are quite separate, so Mr Harvie probably has no idea what he's talking about. Indeed, as a Green with an ideological axe to grind against the oil industry, I would cynically submit that he has no interest in actually researching how the industry worked, because he might just discover that it's full of experts hell bent on doing the right thing.

The licensing process is essentially a bidding process, where companies vie for the rights to explore/produce in a given area. Licenses applications are evaluated on the technical work that a company proposes to carry out.....eg. how many prospects have they identified on the acreage, how many wells do they commit to carry out etc. A company's environmental credentials are evaluated during the license application, but because a license does not necessarily lead to wells being drilled, there's little point in submitting spill plans, as these plans would be tailored to each individual well....each well having very different risks.

Once acreage has been awarded thru the license process, any proposed wells are subject to a different permitting process which is where the OPEP (Oil Pollution Emergency Plan) must be submitted and evaluated by government before permits are awarded.

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Shell refusing to say how much is leaking, twitter reports suggest they've known about this since wednesday:

BBC News - Shell fights spill near North Sea oil platform

This link says there was 10 leaks in 2009/10 one of which was described as significant. Why wasn't that reported at the time? Why do they only have to declare leaks if they're in the mood to do so? Surely it should be mandatory to declare leaks.

Shell Fighting Oil Spill At North Sea Platform - FoxBusiness.com

All oil leaks over a certain size (cant remember the volumes but its not much) in the north sea are reportable to the govenment, untill a certain Gulf of Mexico incident the media wouldn't have bothered reporting them so most people would not hear of them. If you contact DECC you can probably get the stats.

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All oil leaks over a certain size (cant remember the volumes but its not much) in the north sea are reportable to the govenment, untill a certain Gulf of Mexico incident the media wouldn't have bothered reporting them so most people would not hear of them. If you contact DECC you can probably get the stats.

I think the "certain size" is zero. Pretty sure that any and all leaks must be reported.

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I've been slightly involved in some of the discussions about this at work (I currently work for a marine division of the government), and the leak is of top priority just now. The emails going back and forth about it is unbelievable.

Whilst the leak may not be considered insignificant, the current volumes being estimated are nowhere near the larger spills and leaks that we're perhaps aware of, such as the Torrey Canyon (80,000 - 190,000 tonnes); the Braer (85,000 tonnes); and the Gulf of Mexico (560,000 tonnes). That said, it has been purported that the spill stretched approximately 11.1km from the release site, which is pretty fucking grim no matter how you look at it. The volume of oil was estimated to be anywhere from several hundred tonnes to around six hundred tonnes, though it's apparently hard to accurately estimate this due to natural changes in the maritime behaviour and conflicting reports being received. Now, the estimate is far closer to the two hundred tonne mark.

I'm assuming the main thing people reading this thread are concerned about will be environmental impacts (marine mammals, fisheries, seabirds), and my current understanding is that the impact is very minimal. Shell are currently modelling that the oil will disperse before reaching either the Norwegian median line or the Scottish shoreline, so any potential environmental impact is minimal, and a lot of my colleagues are directly involved in monitoring that.

The leak hasn't stopped, but the flow is supposed to be under much tighter control.

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The leak hasn't stopped, but the flow is supposed to be under much tighter control.

"Around two barrels a day (80 gallons) are leaking into the sea, compared to hundreds of barrels a day at the start of the incident, Shell said."

It's certainly a lot more controlled, yes, but that's not to say it isn't still pretty bad. There's also an article on the STV site that cites a second leak from the platform:

Second oil leak discovered from North Sea platform | Aberdeen City News | STV Local

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"Around two barrels a day (80 gallons) are leaking into the sea, compared to hundreds of barrels a day at the start of the incident, Shell said."

It's certainly a lot more controlled, yes, but that's not to say it isn't still pretty bad. There's also an article on the STV site that cites a second leak from the platform:

Second oil leak discovered from North Sea platform | Aberdeen City News | STV Local

Indeed. I don't believe I suggested it wasn't still bad, though.

We were informed that the flow is now down to around a barrel a day.

The second leak is thought to be related, and around 5km away from the initial release site. Hopefully that is quelled before it gets out of hand. It's a minor leak just now, so hopefully they can access and remedy it pronto.

I would be cautious of believing any figures that the press are promulgating, though. None of the exact figures can be substantiated yet, and already the press have reported figures different to what the government have been privy to, and this is despite the fact that their main source of information is the government. Conflicting information never helps in these circumstances.

It doesn't help that Shell are being quite guarded and keeping their cards to their chests. The government are trying to encourage them to be more publically open regarding the incident, it seems.

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