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Shell OKd for next step in North Sea

Aug. 23, 2011 at 8:37 AM

LONDON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Shell received approval to start removing residual oil and gas from a pipeline that leaked from the Gannet platform in the North Sea, London announced.

Shell said last week that divers had stopped flow of oil from its Gannet platform in the North Sea. A subsea leak had spilled about 1,500 barrels of oil when it was first reported Aug. 10 but the escaping amount had slowed to less than one barrel per day.

Hugh Shaw, the British secretary of state's representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said Shell was planning to secure the subsea pipeline to the ocean floor to protect it from the threat of storm of tidal damage.

"Planning is now under way for the safe and timely removal of the gas and oil remaining in the damaged pipeline," he said in a statement.

None of the oil from the Gannet platform had reached shore. Most of the initial sheen was dispersed naturally.

Shell was criticized for taking two days before issuing public statements about the spill. Shaw said he didn't know about the spill until Aug. 12.

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