BP fined £7,000 over discharge of oil into North Sea

Oil firm BP has been fined £7,000 - after admitting regulatory failings which led to the discharge of crude oil into the North Sea.

The company pleaded guilty to a contravention of Regulation 3(1) of the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Oil Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2005 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

It came after 95 tonnes of oil was let into the water 75 miles west of Shetland in October 2016.

The Crown Office says that BP intended to start production from a newly drilled well on the Clair Phase 1 offshore installation. This was not a routine operation and as such there was a specific written procedure prepared by BP which was to be followed in order to carry out this operation.

The investigation found that regular water sampling should have been in place, with the results of this being fed back to the control room. The written procedure was not specific on when results should be provided, or when the control room should request late results.

It was this process failure which led to the oil being discharged.

Alistair Duncan, head of the health and safety investigation unit at the Crown Office, said: "BP accepted liability and the Crown accepted their guilty plea to the contravention of the regulations.

"The lack of sufficiently robust procedures could have had a significant environmental impact, had these issues not been addressed.

"Thankfully there was no significant impact to the environment as a result of this incident and the company has introduced improved procedures since then.

"Hopefully this prosecution will serve as a reminder that failing to have sufficiently robust procedures and adhere to the regulations can have potentially serious consequences."

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