Shell says new Gulf spill is not from its wells

SHELL’S shares fell as much as four per cent yesterday on worries over a possible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, before reassurances from the company helped stabilise the stock.

The FTSE 100-listed oil major sent in a specialist vessel to assess a sheen on the water near one of its Gulf platforms, and said in the afternoon that all its operations in the area showed no signs of a leak.

Flights over the scene were also taking place to establish the source of the sheen, which measures around one mile by ten miles.

Despite Shell’s promise of “prudent caution” after the sheen was spotted, the spectre of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill almost exactly two years ago sent a chill through the market.

But Shell’s London-listed A shares settled to close down 0.75 per cent at £21.25 yesterday following the afternoon update.

BP owns a 28.5 per cent stake in the Mars project and a 22.7 per cent interest in the Ursa project, between which the oil was found.

Shell said it would continue to work with US regulators to find the cause of the sheen, which is estimated to be around six barrels’ worth of oil.