Shell Says Nearly 55,000 Gallons Spewed Into North Sea

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Royal Dutch Shell, Europe's largest oil company, said 54,600 gallons of oil spewed into the North Sea from its Gannet Alpha oil rig, located 112 miles off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. A Shell official said he believed waves would disperse the oil sheen and the spill was not expected to reach the shore, according to the Associated Press.

Shell (RDS-A) declined to provide an official leak estimate on Sunday, but said it used a remote controlled underwater vehicle to inspect the leak and other relevant equipment had been placed on standby in the event chemical dispersant was needed to break-up oil. News of the spill was originally reported on Friday.

Shell said the platform's flow line is now leaking the equivalent of five barrels per day. Personnel on the platform are safe and the platform continues to operate, according to statement posted to Shell's Web site on Sunday. British authorities said the leak was large compared to previous spills in the U.K. North Sea region.

British regulators have been boosting safety inspections and protocols following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the U.S. That was the largest oil spill in U.S. history.