Italian oil giant Eni has admitted that oil that has washed up on beaches near Blackpool in north-west England is the result of a spill from the company’s Liverpool Bay facilities in the east Irish Sea.

An Eni spokesman confirmed that between about 15 and 150 barrels of oil were released to sea on 10 July from the Liverpool Bay complex’s floating oil storage facility that is located 16 kilometres from the main three-platform Douglas complex more than 30 kilometres offshore.