A new environment study has revealed that almost 300 tonnes hazardous materials accidentally spilled into the North Sea in 2017.

The Oil and Gas UK report (OGUK) claims than 279 tonnes of oil and chemicals were "accidentally released".

In total, 23 tonnes of oil were released in 451 accidental oil and chemical releases. Despite a reported decrease in the amount of oil releases from previously reported in 2016, over 220 accidental release cases reached the North Sea marine environment according to the study. 

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The OGUK report found that accidental oil reaching the North Sea accounted for a mere 0.00003% of the 81 million tonnes of oil produced in 2017. The report also stated that 96% of the chemicals released are deemed to be "low hazard" chemicals. 

The amount of accidental oil released fell from 115 tonnes in 2016, to 23 last year. 

Oil and Gas UK Environment Manager Katie Abbott said to Energy Voice: “The UK Continental Shelf is a mature and complex basin, and the challenges that accompany the production of hydrocarbons here mean that the data outlined in this report are equally complex.

“While innovative technology is contributing to environmental performance, through enhanced oil recovery which includes produced water re-injection, and the reduction in associated gas flared, challenges remain in other aspects.

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“We continue to appraise longer term trends to identify learnings from accidental releases including the low frequency, high mass incidents.

“As a major hazard and heavily regulated industry, continued engagement with regulators, government and the sector is key in supporting efforts to reduce environmental risk, ensuring continued safe operation.”

Sam Gardier, acting director at WWF Scotland, said it was “time to see clear recognition from the oil and gas sector that they cannot continue to fuel runaway climate change”.

He called for the industry to “work with all partners to ensure a just transition that delivers a safe climate future and high quality jobs for all.”