The Brent Spar Accident

Topics: North Sea, Royal Dutch Shell, Risk Pages: 3 (861 words) Published: January 22, 2013
The Brent Spar was a storage buoy, commissioned on 1976 for oil storage and subsequent transfer to tankers. It was located in British territorial waters. This buoy belonged to Shell U.K. and Exxon; Shell was in charge of the operations. By 1989, Shell U.K. and Exxon finally had an operational pipe line so the Brent Spar was no longer useful. Both decided to decommission the Brent Spar on 1992 and Shell U.K. was going to be in charge, being the one who handled operations. Shell U.K. ordered no fewer than 30 separate studies which considered the technical, safety, and environmental implications. The studies concluded on two options; sinking the Brent Spar on the North Sea (which had 1% risk of pollutant discharges from the ships crossing North Sea every year) or decommission on land (which had less contamination risks but employees would be at risk). The option of sinking the buoy was going to cost 20 million Euros while decommissioning on land was going to be around 40 million Euros. Shell decided on sinking the buoy as the best practical environmental option (BPEO) and the U.K. government approved. As a standard practice, United Kingdom informed on the procedure to the different countries surrounding the North Sea with 60 days for opposition which nobody claimed. And there was when Greenpeace (one of the biggest NGO’s) got involved. Greenpeace made a huge campaign, using every communication’s vehicles. They concentrated in Germany asking the people to stop using Shell products and the result translated into losses for Shell Germany. Other resources were filming on the occupation of the Brent Spar and further released on TV main channel companies worldwide. With all this pressure from Greenpeace, European countries and people everywhere, Shell U.K. decided not to sink the Brent Spar but to decommission on land. Shell U.K. ordered more scientific studies to investigate further on Greenpeace claims and the results relied on Shell’s BPEO; Greenpeace...
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