Mixed report on offshore sector's performance

The amount of oil released into the sea by the UK's offshore oil and gas industry dropped to its lowest figure in 1997 since the early years of North Sea oil following an effective ban on discharges of oil-based drilling muds. Offsetting that positive trend was a sharp increase in the tonnage and number of oil spills, while some new synthetic drill fluids have been found to be no more biodegradable than oil-based muds and are to be phased out.

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