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Second leak at North Sea oil platform forces evacuation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An oil leak at a North Sea platform caused it to be partially evacuated on Saturday, its Middle East operator said, the second such incident at the installation in less than two months.

The Alpha Cormorant platform and the pipeline system it services were shut down as a precaution, operator Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) said in a statement.

The company said it had evacuated 71 of its 145 non-essential staff from the platform, situated 160 kilometres (100 miles) northeast of Lerwick on the Shetland Islands north of Britain, and that everyone was safe and well.

"TAQA Bratani can confirm that a hydrocarbon release detected in one of the Cormorant Alpha platform legs has now been contained, with no further hydrocarbon release," the company said.

"TAQA continues to monitor the situation on Cormorant Alpha and is working with its partners to have the Brent pipeline system operational as soon as possible."

The leak was discovered during maintenance work at 0940 GMT on Saturday morning, TAQA said.

The company said no oil was released into the environment during the leak.

A similar leak occurred at the platform on January 15, also causing the shutdown of the platform and the pipeline infrastructure.

Cormorant Alpha, which was built in 1978, handles about 90,000 barrels per day of crude oil, of which 42,600 are produced by TAQA.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130302/second-leak-at-north-sea-oil-platform-forces-evacuation