• STV
  • MySTV

Energy giant Shell fined £22,500 over biggest oil leak in decade

The equivalent of more than 1300 barrels of oil spilled into the sea from the Gannet Alpha in 2011.

Gannet Alpha: Shell fined over major oil leak.
Gannet Alpha: Shell fined over major oil leak. Shell UK

Energy giant Shell has been fined £22,500 over the largest North Sea oil leak in more than a decade.

The equivalent of more than 1300 barrels of oil spilled into the sea from a ruptured pipe below the Gannet Alpha in August 2011.

The UK Government carried out an investigation into the incident and Shell faced charges over the spill at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Shell was able to bring the leak 112 miles east of Aberdeen under control, but then faced a smaller leak which was spilling around 80 gallons of oil a day.

It cost Shell 45m to clean up the leak and another 100m to repair the damage to its infrastructure. The maximum the court could have fined the firm was 30,000.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks described the fine as a "a drop in the ocean".

He added: "The paltry size of the fine handed down will do little to deter future poor behaviour by it or the rest of the oil and gas industry. 

"Despite being responsible for worst North Sea spill in a decade, the level of the fine is literally a drop in the ocean when compared to the billions earned by Shell annually.

"When it comes to protecting the marine environment and its own employees it's absolutely right that oil companies are prosecuted for their mistakes and that lessons are also learned by the wider industry. 

"It is therefore disappointing that the fine was not much larger in this case."

Shell reported that there was no evidence wildlife had been affected by the subsea leak.

Shell director Paul Goodfellow added: "We deeply regret the Gannet spill and accept the fine which has been handed down to us. We know that no spill is acceptable. 

"Safety is at the heart of our operations and following this incident, a comprehensive review of our North Sea pipeline system was conducted. 

"We have learnt lessons from this review and have applied them across our UK operations."

Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP branded the charges as "nothing short of a joke" and called for tougher government action on environmental crime.

He said: "While I'm glad to see Shell plead guilty to this environmental disaster, the trivial level of fines given to this multi-billion dollar company is nothing short of a joke.

"Last year, Shell turned a profit of $14.9bn, so these minuscule fines will do nothing to make the company change its ways. Multinational fossil fuel giants like Shell have substantial funds put aside to cover the cost of their dirty laundry - pouring thousands of barrels of oil into our waters is just another day in the office for them.

"It's is the job of the justice system to protect the people and the environment from criminals like Shell, but at the moment, the law seems to be on the side of the perpetrator. This judgement should act as a stark wake-up call to our governments, and lead to tougher regulation on environmental crime."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.