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Tests to see if North Sea gas leak has impacted on fish stocks
Published:  09 April, 2012

ECOLOGY scientists have begun a series of tests to see if the gas leak at the Elgin platform in the North Sea has had any impact on fish stocks and other marine life.

The Scottish Government Marine Research Vessel 'Alba na Mara' started its investigation over the Easter weekend by collecting and analysing environmental samples. It is due to spend up to four days around the platform. However, even before the result of the tests are known, it is thought that if there is any marine damage, it is not likely to be serious.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said the evidence so far suggested the impact of the gas leak on fish life had been minimal. He said:  "This is an on-going gas leak and that is why we have employed our own vessel to go to sea to take samples of the water, the sediment, fish stocks etc. I don't anticipate any evidence of any potential impact on the marine environment, but as long as this gas leak is taking place we have to monitor on a daily basis what is happening and understand what is happening. The results from those samples should be available later this week."

Meanwhile, a team from the platform's operators Total have flown out to the platform. The eight people who boarded the Elgin, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, included three workers who were familiar with the installation and five others from a company called Wild Well Control which specialises in capping wells. It was the first time anybody had been back to the platform since it was evacuated almost a fortnight ago.

Total has estimated that the the leak is costing almost a million pounds a day in lost production. There are plans to drill a relief well.

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