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Spain court probes Repsol oil spillage

Source: Reuters - Sat 3rd Jul 2010

A Spanish court has opened proceedings to determine if energy firm Repsol was responsible for oil spillages during prospecting in the Mediterranean last year, El Pais daily said on Saturday.

Citing legal sources, the paper said the court in northeastern port Tarragona also sought to determine if U.S. firm Pride of North America, which managed the rig contracted for the drilling, was responsible.

A Repsol spokesman could not immediately confirm if the court had begun proceedings, but said the spillage had been limited.

"This was a minor one-time incident which was solved and cleaned up within days" he said.

El Pais quoted a Repsol official saying the amount of crude spilled was "minimal, as the authorities did not even activate contingency plans".

The paper added that Repsol had already paid 250,000 euros ($305,900) in compensation last year to fishermen for spillages from the Montanazo D-5 and Lubina-1 wells, which are 45 km (28 miles) offshore from Tarragona.

Repsol has been exploring for oil in Mediterranean waters since the 1970s.

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