Shell reports on Brent Spar disposal outcome

Oil company official claims deep sea dumping would have been "scientifically best option"

Conversion of the giant Brent Spar oil storage buoy into a quay near Stavanger, Norway, cost double the original estimate and failed to achieve a targeted net energy benefit, oil firm Shell Expro reported on Wednesday. In 1996, the company was forced to abandon its original plan to dump the Brent Spar in the deep Atlantic by a high profile Greenpeace campaign. At a seminar in London to mark the virtual completion of the replacement, land-based solution, the company said that it had spent UK£41m on the project (euros 62.2m) rather than the expected UK£21.5m. It also confirmed its original estimate of the quantity of oil contained inside the rig's tanks had been correct at about 150 tonnes were retrieved "compared with the Greenpeace estimate of 5,000 tonnes". According to Shell, instead of a projected net gain in energy of over 48,000 gigajoules, the project had led to a net loss of 115,000 gigajoules, which is just over twice the projected net energy loss that was expected if the initial plan to dump the Brent Spar at sea had been followed. "Scientifically, deep sea disposal was the best option," a Shell official told Reuters. "But sound science and regulatory compliance are not enough; we must listen to stakeholders."

Follow Up:
Shell Expro, tel: +44 171 257 3000. References: Shell's Brent Spar web site.

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