Plans have been approved to recover the remaining oil in a pipe at the centre of a major North Sea leak last year.
More than 200 tonnes of oil gushed into the water from the Gannet Alpha platform about 112 miles east of Aberdeen last August.
The leak was the biggest in the region for a decade.
Shell has now been given permission to remove the oil in a carrier pipe in the Gannet field. A secondary operation will go ahead in spring to complete the clean up process.
A Shell spokesperson said: “Following the work to vent trapped gas last November we have agreed with the relevant authorities a way forward which will enable us to commence safe and controlled removal of the residual oil held within the pipeline, an important part of the remediation process which we expect to be complete next year”.
The areas around the Gannet Field and the subsea flowline have been under observation since the oil leak was stopped and no subsequent release has been detected.