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No Explanation Yet For Shell North Sea Oil Spill – UK Minister

SEPTEMBER 6, 2011

ABERDEEN, Scotland (Dow Jones)–There is still no clear explanation for what caused an oil leak at a Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) North Sea platform that took more than a week to stanch, U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change Minister Charles Hendry said Tuesday.

“We don’t yet understand is the full background to what happened with Gannet Alpha,” said Hendry, speaking at an industry conference here.

An investigation into the spill by is currently underway. Some 218 metric tons of oil spilled into the ocean for ten days from Aug. 10 before Shell was able to close an underwater relief valve on a leaking subsea pipeline. Around 660 tons of oil still remains trapped in the pipeline while Shell analyzes how to safely remove it.

“What we need to do–what my department is doing–is making sure we get a full understanding of what happened, and so if there are lessons to be learned for the future it then we will do so,” said Hendry.

Shell could face hefty fines in the Scottish courts if it was found to be negligent. The findings of the DECC investigation will be referred to the Scottish public prosecutor, who will decide whether further action will be required.

-By Alexis Flynn, Dow Jones Newswires, +44 207842 9471, [email protected]

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