PARIS (Dow Jones)–Total SA (TOT) is studying all options, including drilling a relief well, to end an ongoing gas leak at its Elgin platform in the North Sea, a spokesman for the group said Tuesday.
By midday Tuesday, the leak was still ongoing and even though the exact cause was still unknown, Total believes “it comes from a zone of gas-bearing rock above the main reservoir in the Elgin field,” spokesman Andrew Hogg said, noting the group hadn’t been able to assess how much gas had been leaked into the air.
“The gas leak is at the platform level, not on the sea floor,” Hogg said, insisting that earlier reports of “the sea boiling” were completely wrong.
Total had to shut down all production from Elgin as well as the neighboring Franklin field, which together represent around 9 million standard cubic feet of gas a day. The neighboring West Franklin field isn’t in production, the spokesman said.
It could take “a couple of weeks” under a best-case scenario to end the leak, he said, as international experts from within and outside the group have been flown in to address the issue. Several options are being studied, including drilling a relief well, Hogg said.
The leak comes from a well that was drilled in 1997 and has now been shut for about one year, he said.
As for the sheen on the sea that has been spotted in the vicinity of the platform, its size hasn’t grown since Monday, and is six nautical miles long, representing 24 metric tons of condensate, the group estimated, he said.
Total evacuated all its employees and powered down the platform Sunday.
-By Geraldine Amiel, Dow Jones Newswires