Shell's Gannet oil spill recovery plan approved

Gannet Alpha The incident happened at Shell's Gannet Alpha platform in August last year

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Plans for recovering oil trapped in a North Sea pipeline at the centre of a major spill last year have been approved.

The incident at the Gannet Alpha oil platform, 113 miles (180km) off Aberdeen, happened in August last year, with 200 tonnes of oil leaking.

The leak was stopped but the pipeline still contained oil.

Shell said the start of the "safe and controlled removal of the residual oil" had now been approved.

The leak was discovered about 300ft (91m) below the surface.

It is expected that the operation will recover the majority of the oil in the carrier pipe.

A secondary operation is planned to take place next year.

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