Total plugs Elgin gas leak
18 May 2012
Total announced on May 15 that the uncontrolled gas leak beneath its Elgin platform in the North Sea has finally been plugged, some 12 hours after the French oil major initiated a dynamic well kill operation.
Total has confirmed that the Elgin gas leak has now been plugged, and will be monitoring the well closely over the next few weeks
The well kill involved pumping heavy drilling mud into the rogue Elgin G4 well from the drilling rig West Phoenix. Almost 1,000 tonnes of mud was injected into the well before the leak was confirmed to have been stopped.
G4 had been leaking following an incident on March 25, which led to 238 people being evacuated from Elgin and an adjacent drilling rig, the Rowan Viking. Total said that over the coming days, on-site teams would closely monitor the well in order to confirm the success of the intervention.
Yves-Louis Darricarrère, Total's President of Exploration & Production, said: "Today, a major turning point has been achieved. Our absolute priority was to stop the gas leak safely and as quickly as possible. Since March 25th, we have been working closely with the authorities and we have communicated transparently and will continue to do so. We shall now fully complete the ongoing task and take into account the lessons learnt from this incident."
But it could be weeks before the success of the operation can be confirmed and the well finally sealed with cement. Total said it may take until the end of the year before full production can begin again from the oil and gas wells in the Elgin Franklin complex.
At its height, the leaking well was spewing potentially explosive gas and condensate into the atmosphere at the rate of seven million cubic feet per day, costing Total up to £248 million in lost production.
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