Shell Fined For Major Offshore Brent Platform Leak

Published at 08:57AM - 02/07/15

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell has been finned by British authorities for a fuel leak that subsequently released to the North Sea.

The leak took place onboard Shells Brent Bravo in May 2013. The Brent Bravo sits approximately 116 miles off the North East coast of Lerwick, Shetland. 

Around 13 to 15 tonnes of oil was released during the bunkering of diesel from a supply boat to the platform.

The bunkering was stopped after crew from the supply boat noticed the oil appearing on the waters surface.

However, the leak rapidly increased, with released statements from the court indicating a member of the crew then saw “a plume emanating from the diesel bunkering hose which was mushroom-shaped and approximately 15-20 metres in length from the hose.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) found from their investigations that there were two damaged sections along the length of the hose.  Further, the hose had not be fully inspected before starting operations due to the way the bunkering station was set up.

The DECC said they had found “hand-sized” damage on the hose.  Their also said they had found the hoses to be “bulging and deformed in places”.

The Crown narrative added: “In DECC’s opinion, the defective areas of hose could not have been missed had there been an adequate visual inspection of the hose prior to the bunkering
operation.”

Senior representatives from Shell appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.  During the brief hearing, Shell admitted the release and full responsibility for the leak.

The court fined Shell £6,650. This was a reduction as the Shell admitted full guilt from the outset.

A Shell UK spokeswoman said: “We regret that the release occurred – no spill is acceptable. We have since carried out a thorough investigation into the incident and have shared the lessons learned across the business.”