Calgary Herald

Total to go ahead on work to cap leaking gas well


French oil major Total said it would pump mud into a well to stop a gas leak at its Elgin platform in the North Sea, after a reconnaiss­ance team found conditions were safe enough to allow the operation.

Operations to inject mud into the well before plugging it are likely to start at the end of next week and last several days, a source close to the matter said.

“The reconnaiss­ance mission to the Elgin complex by a team of Total experts and specialist contractor­s has confirmed that planning for a well interventi­on operation to bring the leaking G4 well under control can continue as planned,” Total said in a statement on Friday.

The leak is spewing an estimated 200,000 cubic metres of natural gas into the air per day, forming a highly explosive cloud around the platform. Workers on the platform were evacuated when the leak was first reported on March 25.

The reconnaiss­ance team of experts was flown in by helicopter and found no presence of gas on the main platform, which houses workers’ living quarters, and no gas on the 90-metre bridge that connects to the production platform, where the wellhead has been leaking.

The structural condition of the platform was found to be unchanged since the complex was evacuated, Total added.

The French company, meanwhile, is still planning to carry out a parallel operation of drilling two relief wells, a longer and more expensive option that could take up to six months.

The leak began after pressure rose in a well that had earlier been capped.

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