Restrictions on Shell called for after safety record revealed

Following reports of Shell’s poor safety records held by the government’s Health and Safety Executive, WWF Scotland has called for an end to the company’s North Sea drilling. Dr Richard […]

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By Tom Gibson

Following reports of Shell’s poor safety records held by the government’s Health and Safety Executive, WWF Scotland has called for an end to the company’s North Sea drilling.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: “Revelations over Shell’s own concerns about the Gannet field and about a series of prosecutions and warning from the Health and Safety Executive show a company that is struggling to operate safely in the North Sea. The UK Government needs to restrict Shell’s operations in the North Sea until a proper independent audit has been carried out on their installations.”

The HSE confirmed that Shell had been officially censured over 30 times in the past six years for breaking safety rules. Offences include repeatedly failing to maintain pipelines and failing to report a dangerous incident.

More than 200 tonnes of oil spilled into the water after a leak was detected from Shell’s Gannet Alpha platform, about 112 miles east of Aberdeen, on August 10. On Friday, Shell divers closed the relief valve from which oil had been seeping.

However, Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, said today that the Government were happy with the company’s handling of the spill: “Shell now plan to continue to secure the pipeline to protect it from the threat of storm or tidal damage. Following discussions over the weekend, last night I advised Shell that I am satisfied with their proposals to complete operations to secure with concrete mattresses sections of pipeline that are raised from the sea bed.”

Shell would not comment on their prosecutions, but instead a spokesperson told ELN: “Safety is Shell’s foremost priority at all times.This year alone, we plan to invest approximately $600 million in our assets in the region.”