A major oil firm has been fined £7,000 after 95 tonnes of crude oil leaked into the North Sea.
BP pled guilty to contravening rules on the regulation of offshore petroleum activities at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
It follows a discharge of oil into the sea 75 miles west of the Shetland Isles on October 2, 2016.
The incident sparked an investigation by the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
BP intended to start production from a newly drilled well on their Clair Phase One installation.
This was not a routine operation and as such there was a specific written procedure prepared by BP which was to be followed in order to carry out this operation.
The procedure specified all of the tasks to be undertaken and it was to be followed by all of the personnel involved.
The investigation found that regular water sampling should have been in place, with the results of this being fed back to the control room.
The written procedure was not specific on when results should be provided, or when the control room should request late results. As a result of this process failure a significant amount of crude oil was discharged into the North Sea.
Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, Crown Office, said:
“BP accepted liability and the Crown accepted their guilty plea to the contravention of the Regulations.
“The lack of sufficiently robust procedures could have had a significant environmental impact, had these issues not been addressed.
“Thankfully there was no significant impact to the environment as a result of this incident and the company has introduced improved procedures since then.
“Hopefully this prosecution will serve as a reminder that failing to have sufficiently robust procedures and adhere to the regulations can have potentially serious consequences.”
A spokesman for BP said: “Safety is BP’s core value and our operations are grounded in the principles of no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment. On this occasion in 2016, we regrettably fell short of these high standards.
“While there was no injury to people or significant impact on the environment, this incident should not have happened. In the period immediately after this incident, we carried out a thorough investigation and applied lessons learned. We remain as committed as ever to maintaining safe and reliable operations across our business.”