LONDON (Dow Jones)–French oil company Total SA (TOT) is mobilizing two rigs to drill a relief well that could eventually halt a gas leak from the Elgin platform in the North Sea, the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement Thursday.
The company is also looking at a second solution to halt the leak that would involve pumping heavy mud into the well, the statement said.
The gas flare on the platform, which threatens to ignite the gas cloud that is leaking from the facility, remains lit but appears to be shrinking in size, the government said. The prevailing wind continues to carry the gas away from the flame, but should the weather change, Total is considering using water dropped from a helicopter or sprayed from a fire-fighting vessel to extinguish the flame, it said.
A sheen of gas condensate is visible on the surface of the sea covering an area of 99 square kilometers, equivalent to around 3.8 tons of total hydrocarbon spilled, the government said.
“DECC’s view is that there remains no substantial risk to the environment,” it said.
-By James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires