North Sea oil spill heading away from land, BP says


An oil spill from a North Sea platform is heading away from land, according to BP.

Its Clair platform was shut down on Sunday following the leak.

BP has not yet revealed how much fuel has escaped from the structure, which is 75km (46 miles) west of Shetland.

It has, however, confirmed oil is visible on the surface of the water and appears to be moving north.

The firm currently believes that allowing the oil to disperse naturally at sea is the best way to deal with the spill, although other options have not been ruled out.

In a statement, BP said: "The release was stopped within an hour once the issue had been identified and Clair production was taken offline.

"We are investigating the cause of the technical issue and the field will remain offline for the time being."

Oil spill and environmental experts from BP, Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are said to have been working to assess any potential impact of the spill on the environment.

"At present, we believe the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared," the statement went on.

"Oil has been observed on the sea surface and we are monitoring its movement. Both direct observation and oil spill modelling indicate the oil to be moving in a northerly direction away from land."

A spokesman said the volume of oil released has not yet been accurately assessed and work to determine the quantity is being carried out.