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70 evacuated after oil rig leak scare; Cormorant Alpha shut for second time.

Byline: Norman Silvester

taken off an oil rig in the North Sea yesterday after a leak was found in one of its legs for the second time this year.

The Cormorant Alpha was shut down last night while TAQA Bratani, who own and operate the platform, investigated. A similar leak was found in the 35-year-old rig in January.

The problem was discovered during maintenance work on the platform, which is 94 miles north-east of Lerwick, Shetland.

TAQA Bratani said no oil had been released into the sea and everyone on board the platform was safe and well.

A spokeswoman added: "A hydrocarbon release detected in one of the Cormorant Alpha platform legs has now been contained, with no further release.

"All pipeline infrastructure remains shut down as a precaution.

"The hydrocarbons were discovered during maintenance work.

CRITIC WWF's Lang Banks "The leak has been contained within the leg."

Although 71 staff had been evacuated, a further 74 remained on board the rig last night to fix the leak.

The pipeline system for up to 27 oil fields was stopped and 92 workers airlifted from the Cormorant Alpha during January's leak.

Environmentalists voiced concerns following the latest incident.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "While it's a relief to hear staff are safe and the leak is contained, serious questions must be asked about the integrity of this ageing rig.

"In the interests of the environment and all oil workers, it would be wise for the relevant authorities to take a much closer look at this platform, and those of a similar age dotted throughout the North Sea."


CRITIC WWF's Lang Banks

AGEING There are concerns over the future of the Cormorant Alpha
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 3, 2013
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