The company says will leave the oil to disperse naturally
The incident happened around 10 am on Sunday, October 2 when an estimate of 95 tonnes of oil in water was released to the sea from the Clair platform, located 75 km (46 miles) west of the Shetland Islands. According to the oil company, there was a technical issue with the system designed to separate the mixed production fluids of water, oil, and gas. The release was stopped within an hour after the issue had been identified and Clair was shut down in order for BP to investigate the incident.
As stated in BP’s press release on the 4th of October, the most appropriate response was to let the oil disperse naturally. After conducting eight aerial surveys in total to monitor the oil slick and using the latest surveillance data, it was observed that two days after the incident the total volume of oil remaining on the sea surface was less than 1m3. This fact indicates there was significant evaporation and dispersion already, however contingencies for other action have been prepared and are available, if required, the press release mentions.
In the last 20 years, drilling for oil exploration in the northern seas has gained ground to an alarming degree. A report of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the results of which were published some years ago in 'the Guardian', reveals that between 2000 and 2011 there were 4,123 separate spills recorded in the North Sea. However, only in 7 occasions have the authorities issued fines, with no oil company having to pay more than £20,000.