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BP reveals oil disaster strategy

Oil company BP has outlined its contingency plans as it prepares to start drilling off the coast of Shetland.

The firm had planned to start drilling in the North Uist area, around 80 miles north-west of Shetland, last year, but the launch date was postponed following the Deepwater Horizon leak. BP plans to start drilling next year, once it has received approval.

In April 2010 an explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and left 4.9 million barrels of oil pumping into the Gulf of Mexico, where it hit wildlife, coasts and fisheries.

It is understood one of the worst case scenarios outlined in documents submitted to the UK Government for the new well, which would start 1,300 metres below the sea's surface in the North Uist area, was a leak of 75,000 barrels a day.

Oil companies have to submit plans to the Government ahead of drilling.

A spokesman for BP said: "As part of our North Sea exploration programme, BP is planning to explore the North Uist prospect in the deep water West of Shetland in the first quarter of 2012. BP has been exploring successfully West of Shetland since the 1970s and producing there safely for over 15 years.

"BP will be using the 'state-of-the-art' Stena Carron drillship, which has experience of deepwater drilling West of Shetland. Key lessons from the Deepwater Horizon incident have been incorporated into the overall planning for this well.

"All drilling activity is subject to regulatory approval. BP is working closely with the UK regulator to provide the necessary assurance regarding preparations for this well.

"The well was originally planned for late 2010 but was delayed approx one year due to a desire to fully incorporate the lessons from the Deepwater Horizon incident."


From Belfast Telegraph