Oil production in North Sea scrutinized

Aug. 22, 2011 at 8:52 AM
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LONDON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Internal documents and British safety records indicate there were problems with North Sea oil production after Shell announced it closed its oil leak last week.

Royal Dutch Shell said that divers shut a relief valve and stopped an oil spill from its Gannet platform. At the height of the spill, reported Aug. 10, around 1,500 barrels of oil was dumping into the North Sea.

Bill Campbell, whom The Daily Telegraph described as a "former senior Shell employee" questioned the company's performance at Gannet as claims from 2003 surfaced over the platform's maintenance record, the newspaper in London reports.

The company racked up roughly 15,000 hours in a backlog of repairs, equipment collapses and the death of a maintenance worker since January. Several of its other platforms in the North Sea were shut because of problems associated with rig infrastructure.

Glen Cayley, technical director of European operations for Shell said his company regrets the spill and takes its responsibility in the North Sea "very seriously."

Nevertheless, the Telegraph adds, London health officials warned that only 5 percent of the oil rigs in the North Sea were in good condition and almost all of them were found to need some form of repair in the last three years.

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