BP has been forced to close down the Forties pipeline, which brings ashore nearly 40% of the oil produced in the UK, in order to safely remove a mine dating from World War Two.
The mine, which was found about 25 miles east of Peterhead, is believed to be of German origin. The shutdown, which is expected to last for five days, has also temporarily closed around 70 oil and gas fields in the North Sea.
A spokesman for BP said “The Forties Pipeline System has started a 5-day planned shut down, to enable the safe removal and disposal of ordnance lying next to the pipeline. BP is also taking the opportunity to conduct some important maintenance while the system is shut down. All users of the Forties Pipeline system have been kept regularly informed and are fully aware of the plan. The plans have also received full regulatory approvals and support.
“BP notified the relevant authorities at the time and a plan has been developed, in close consultation with bomb disposal and subsea experts, to remove and dispose of the ordnance. The plan has been approved by the various regulatory authorities.
“As a precaution a guard vessel has been stationed in the area, to ensure fishing and other vessels are kept clear of the immediate area.”