HC Deb 26 April 1990 vol 171 cc274-5W
Mr. Gareth Wardell

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in theOfficial Report for each year since 1975 a list of all those offshore oil spill incidents that have occurred around the British coast, identifying the operator responsible, the date of the incident, and the sum of money paid for remedial measures under the offshore pollution liability agreement.

Mr. Peter Morrison

Since 1976 a total of 1,442 oil spills from offshore installations have been reported to my Department. The details are:

Total number of spills Number of spills in excess of 25 tonnes
1976 9
1977 14 2
1978 27
1979 27
1980 86 1
1981 71
1982 42 2
1983 62 2
1984 47 1
1985 87 4
1986 166 7
1987 254 3
1988 259 3
1989 291 2

This information is compiled from details of oil spill incidents reported by operators as a requirement of their production licences which is summarised in the Department's reports on the development of oil and gas resources of the United Kingdom 1977–89. The information given for 1989 will be included in the report for 1990. Information for 1975 is not readily available.

More specific information can be provided only under the terms of the various licences with the consent of the licensees and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Operators who are party to the offshore pollution liability agreement accept claims on a strict liability basis. Claims for payment for remedial measures following oil spills from offshore installations have been settled directly by the operators concerned. I have no information on the amounts involved.

The rise in the number of reported spills between 1985 and 1986 can he attributed to increased pressure on operators to report even the smallest spills. Also, in 1986, random aerial surveillance flights over offshore installations commenced.

Although the number of reported incidents increased, the number of spills greater than 25 tonnes have remained low.

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