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BP re-open consultation

OIL giant BP have re-opened their public consultation on a deepwater oil well 80 miles north west of Shetland after an outcry from environmental groups.

The initial consultation over the North Uist prospect, which lies 1,290 metres beneath the sea, received no responses from the public and organisations like Greenpeace and RSPB said they were unaware of its existence.

This week energy and environment secretary Chris Huhne has told the groups that comments will be considered if they are submitted by the end of this month.

In their submissions, BP forecast a worst case scenario of North Uist causing the worst oil spill in history, leaking 75,000 barrels of oil a day for 140 days, twice the size of the Deepwater Horizon incident last year.

Mr Huhne is reported to have said that the much publicised well capping device designed to prevent another Gulf of Mexico disaster would not be deployable in a swell exceeding five metres, but that it was unlikely drilling would occur in such conditions.