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Germany angered by Shell refusal to dismantle old oil rigs

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 16 October 2019
BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Wednesday it has called an international meeting over Shell's refusal to dismantle old oil rigs containing thousands of tons of crude in the Northeast Atlantic.

A spokesman for Germany's environment ministry told reporters in Berlin that the OSPAR Commission, which oversees a treaty on protecting the Northeast Atlantic, will hold an unprecedented special session in London to discuss the issue Friday.

Stephan Gabriel Haufe said the four Shell platforms in question — known as Brent Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta — contain about 11,000 metric tons (12,125 tons) of crude oil residue.

"Germany considers it absolutely unacceptable that this amount of crude oil should remain in these structures," Haufe said.

He said Germany was concerned about a repeat of the Brent Spar incident in 1995, when Shell's plans to dispose of a floating oil storage unit at sea sparked strong environmental protests and even violence.

Shell rejected the German government's concerns, saying it had commissioned independent scientists to examine the decommissioning of the platforms in the Brent oil field and the company had held extensive consultations with experts and non-governmental organizations.

"We are confident that our plans are safe, environmentally sound, technically achievable, and socially responsible," Shell said in a statement.

The meeting in London will be attended by European countries adjacent to the Northeast Atlantic and industry representatives. Germany says it has received the support of Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg and the European Union on the issue.

The dispute comes as Britain, where Shell has a major corporate presence, is in the process of withdrawing from the EU.

Britain said earlier this year that it plans to...
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