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North Sea oil spill has dispersed

TAQA Bratani's Tern platform in the North Sea

OIL company TAQA Bratani is investigating a large oil spill from a platform in the North Sea on Tuesday that was allowed to disperse naturally into the ocean.

The spill of 23 tonnes of crude oil, which only came to light on Friday, came from the Tern oil platform 100 miles north east of Lerwick.

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The company said on Friday that the pollution incident took place around 1pm on Tuesday, as a result of “a temporary upset in the production process whilst cleaning up a new well”.

The said the spill was stopped quickly and posed no risk to either crew or the platform. The government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been informed.

TAQA health and safety manager Derek Howden said: “We immediately put into action our response plan which outlines the steps to be taken in the case of any hydrocarbon release.

“In close cooperation with DECC it was agreed that the best action, with the least impact on the environment, was to let the oil disperse naturally rather than using a dispersant. This strategy was successful and the oil has since dispersed.

“TAQA immediately set up an investigation team to learn the lessons and prevent recurrence.” 

The Tern oilfield is one of six fields TAQ purchased from Shell along with control of the Brent pipeline system that feeds crude oil into the Sullom Voe oil terminal, in which it holds a 24 per cent stake.

The company is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabu National Energy Company and is one of the newer players in the region, looking to invest in extracting more oil from existing resources.

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