CHEMICAL testing of water and sediment samples gathered two miles from the Elgin platform gas leak indicate there has been no direct marine contamination from the incident.
Samples collected were tested for the presence of oil and gas (hydrocarbon) pollution at the Marine Scotland Science laboratory in Aberdeen.
Results are now available for seawater and sediment. The chemical analysis of fish, which sensory testing last week found to be untainted by hydrocarbons, is ongoing.
Some traces of oil-based hydrocarbons were found in seawater samples, however analysis has revealed that it is not directly linked to the gas leak and is instead likely to be caused by other shipping or industrial activities in the area.
The sediment samples were found to be unaffected by the gas leak, with the samples’ chemical indicators being typical of what is found elsewhere in the North Sea.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I’m pleased that chemical analysis of water and sediment samples is now available, which adds to the sensory fish testing work completed last week. All data gathered to date continues to demonstrate that the effects on the marine environment of the Elgin gas leak are so far minimal.
“However, as the leak is ongoing, we must remain vigilant and I’ve asked Marine Scotland to continue to play a full part in assessing the situation, including further environmental monitoring.
“Trace amounts of oil in water samples from one of the six sites sampled was detected but this isn’t directly linked to the gas leak and is at concentrations that do not warrant a specific environmental concern.
“Full results from the fish chemical analysis are expected next week, while next steps will also include further sampling work to be carried out from within the exclusion zone. A decision on when this will take place will be made following wide-ranging considerations, including advice from the Environment Group.
“We will continue our monitoring activities for the duration of this incident, and respond to any developments as needed. Stopping the gas flow is of course the priority and TOTAL’s efforts to resolve the problem are ongoing. We continue to hope this incident can be resolved as quickly and safely as possible.”