Dutch Shell: Second Leak Found in North Sea Spill

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 3:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Royal Dutch Shell says it is struggling to contain the worst North Sea oil spill in a decade, after a second leak was found in an oil line near the company's platform off the Scottish coast.

The new discovery comes one day after the Netherlands-based oil company said it had the leak “under control.” Before the second leak was found, Shell said about 1,300 barrels had spilled from its Gannet Alpha rig off Aberdeen, fouling an area of about 31- by 4.3 kilometers at its widest point.

The technical director of Shell's European exploration and production activities, Glen Cayley, said the original leak is mainly stopped. But Cayley said the second smaller leak at the rig is proving more difficult to control, and is leaking one to two barrels of oil a day.

On Monday, Shell said waves would disperse the oil naturally and it was not expected to reach the shore.

Royal Dutch Shell said the leak began last Wednesday, and environmentalists criticized the oil company for waiting several days before announcing the spill.

The spill is considered small compared to the devastating BP oil slick last year in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern U.S. coast. But a Scottish environmental charity called the spill “deeply disturbing.”