Commenting on the announcement that the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is to investigate the causes of the current oil spill from Shell’s Gannet Alpha platform, and that DECC may notify the Scottish Procurator Fiscal who will take a decision on further action, including the potential prosecution of Shell, Stan Blackley, Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“If Shell is found guilty of any wrongdoing, then it should feel the full weight of the law. The levying of a fine or requirement to pay compensation will be shrugged off by such a massive, rich company, and the cost will likely be passed on to consumers or written off in some way.

“Fining Shell is not going to make it change its ways. Those running that business need to be held accountable for their failings and, if found guilty of any breach of the law, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“These oil spills and leaks are from a mature well that Shell has been operating for years, and over these years they have reassured us that they are in total control of the process, yet they are struggling to solve the problem they have at the moment. As companies such as Shell continue to exploit ever harder to reach sources of oil, such as deep water drilling or Arctic wells, the potential damage from any future incident like this one increases.

“Much tighter monitoring and regulation is required, and an obligation for companies like Shell to spend more effort on avoiding incidents such as this one should be formalised, especially when these companies are engaged in ever riskier methods of oil exploitation. Without this, we will inevitably see the same problems arise time and again, and a much worse disaster happen in the future.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
 t: 0131 243 2719 

Notes to Editors

DECC update on Shell’s Gannet Alpha platform oil leak
www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/update_gannet/update_gannet.aspx

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
 * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk