NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Brent shutdown: Pipeline 'safe to resume flow' after Cormorant Alpha leak

Cormorant Alpha
Image caption Taqa Bratani's Cormorant Alpha platform is nearly 100 miles off Shetland

A North Sea oil pipeline which was shut down because of a leak at an offshore platform has been declared safe to resume transporting supplies.

Taqa, operators of the Cormorant Alpha platform where the oil leak was discovered on Monday, had closed the Brent pipeline as a precaution.

The firm said the process of restoring the flow of 80,000 barrels of oil per day was under way.

Work is also taking place to stop the leak inside one of the platform's legs.

Taqa removed non-essential workers from the Cormorant Alpha, about 94 miles from Lerwick in Shetland, as a precaution and said the leak had been contained.

Pumping station

Shutting down the platform affected the whole Brent pipeline system as the platform is a crucial pumping station.

It is understood the Brent pipeline system could no longer operate and eight other platforms servicing up to 27 oil fields were shut down.

These were the Dunlin, Thistle, Northern Producer, Murchison, North Alwyn, Tern, Eider and North Cormorant platforms.

Oil and Gas UK - the offshore industry body - said oil transported through the Brent pipeline system represented 10% of the UK's North Sea oil production.

A Taqa spokesperson said: "Investigations have found there is no connection between the Brent pipeline system and the pipeline involved in the release.

"The process of restarting Brent throughput follows a thorough technical evaluation that shows it is safe to do so without any increased risk to Cormorant Alpha.

"The hydrocarbons released are contained within the platform leg and none have been released into the environment."

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The Scottish government, including Marine Scotland, are monitoring this situation closely."

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