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Friday, 10 November, 2000, 18:12 GMT
Shell evacuates North Sea staff
Graphic of the Shearwater platform
The Shearwater platform started work in September
Workers have been evacuated from one of the North Sea's newest installations.

The move followed an unexpected rise in pressure in a well on Shell's Shearwater platform.

A total of 39 non-essential staff were being airlifted from the platform, which lies about 120 miles east of Aberdeen.

Shell decided to undertake the precautionary evacuation on Friday.

There were 54 people left on board the platform while investigations into the cause of the problem were carried out.

Shearwater produces condensate - a type of very light oil.

Safe investigation

In a statement, Shell said the higher than normal pressure was detected in a well which was not producing at the time

The company said it was necessary to continue production from the platform at the minimum level to enable a safe investigation.

The non-essential personnel were being flown in groups to Aberdeen by two Bond Super Puma helicopters on Friday evening.

The incident has been reported to the coastguard and the Health and Safety Executive.

The 867m platform only went into production for the first time in September.

It is connected to the mainland with a 463km pipeline.

The platform was inaugurated by Energy Minister Helen Liddell.

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See also:

08 Sep 00 | Scotland
BP unveils 2.75bn investment plan
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