LONDON Royal Dutch Shell said an oil leak from a ruptured pipeline into the North Sea was slowing but refused to say how much oil has already leaked into the sea.
Oil from the Anglo-Dutch oil major's pipeline has been spilling into the sea since last Wednesday but the rate of flow has been reducing since the company shut off the well the same day.
A spokesman for Shell on Monday declined to comment on how much oil has leaked, although Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish regional government, told the BBC on Saturday that around 100 tonnes of oil or about 750 barrels had spilt.
That compares with almost 5 million barrels which gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's blighted Macondo well last year.
Shell's shares were trading up 0.5 percent to 2,017 pence at 0958 GMT, marginally lagging the European index of oil and gas companies which was 0.7 percent higher.
"We don't know how much has actually spilled but it seems to be contained at this point. It has a negative impact but it's a relatively small impact," Macquarie analyst Jason Gammel said.
The oil sheen from the leak 180 km off the coast of Aberdeen covered an area of around 37 square km, said Shell's spokesman.
He said waves were dispersing the oil naturally but that Shell had equipment and despersant on standby to use if required.
"The Scottish Government is closely monitoring the situation and is being kept fully informed of any developments. Marine Scotland officials have attended Shell's Emergency Room and are participating in the Operations Control Unit," a Scottish Government spokesman said.
Shell said it plans to issue another statement about the leak later on Monday.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Cowell)