AROUND 500 barrels of oil has leaked from a pipe off the north Wales coast.

In a statement, Eni UK Ltd told Herald.Wales: “A limited hydrocarbons release of less than 500 barrels occurred on Monday, February 14, from its pipeline between the Conwy and Douglas Installations, approximately 33 km from the North Wales coast.”

“There is no impact to any personnel on the installations.”

“An Incident Management Team has been mobilised and is working closely with the relevant authorities and response contractors to understand the situation and minimise any effect to the environment.”

“A further statement will be made as soon as more information becomes available.”

Sefton Council have warned locals not to remove ‘tar balls’ that have begun washing up on beaches around Merseyside such as Formby Beach.

The ‘tar balls’ of oil washing up on beaches (pic: Sefton Council)

A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “While this type of incident is rare, Sefton Council and its partner agencies have robust plans in place to ensure any contamination or disruption to our coastline is minimal.

“We will be supporting Eni UK Limited’s clean up teams in the coming weeks to remove any potential contamination.”

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Counter Pollution and Salvage team, together with other agencies, are monitoring the response of Eni UK and assisting partner local authorities in an ongoing response to an incident, which was first reported off the North Wales Coast yesterday.”

Below is a zoomed area of the map showing the two areas and connecting pipeline.

Senior lecturer in physical oceanography at Bangor University, Dr. Peter Robins, said: “An oil spill will tend to spread out over the surface of the ocean and it’ll spread naturally through the mixing of the ocean waters.

“Where it’s spilt in the middle of Liverpool Bay, there tends to be stronger flood tides so it might tend to drift eastwards, maybe towards the English coast there.

“At the moment we’re experiencing quite strong south-westerly winds and they’re going to also tend to push the oil eastwards towards the English coast, I think.”