At 1153 GMT, Total announced via Twitter that a team of 11 engineers had descended upon the stricken Elgin platform to commence “well kill” operations. At the same time, the Transocean (NYSE:RIG) drilling rig, SEDCO 714, was spudding in the first relief well as part of the operation to stop the Elgin G4 gas leak.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate change granted TOTAL consent to drill a relief well to tackle the Elgin gas leak after a full environmental assessment.
The high temperature, high pressure well will be used to safely block and permanently seal the Elgin G4 well, the source of the current leak, should a dynamic kill operation also being planned prove unsuccessful. The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed it has no objections to this intended activity.
The relief well will be drilled from the SEDCO 714 drilling rig which will be located approximately 1.2km East of the Elgin G4 well in water around 90m deep. The anticipated vertical depth of the completed well is approximately 4,400m and will take around 180 days of drilling to complete.
TOTAL is also continuing to work with the UK government on their preferred option of a dynamic kill, that will use heavy mud to block the well.
A DECC spokesman said: “We are happy with the progress TOTAL is making to resolve this incident as quickly as possible. We continue to monitor the situation closely and the latest reports from Marine Scotland show that the impact to the environment remains minimal.”