Total ‘prepares Elgin return’

Total may put personnel onboard the Elgin platform as early as in the next few days as it mulls its options to kill a large gas leak, a report indicates.

The French major is considering a ‘top kill’ procedure on the leaking North Sea facility while the drilling of a relief well is also still highly possible.

(Click here to read all Upstream articles on the Elgin gas leak crisis.)

Total will on Monday discuss with the UK’s Health & Safety Executive a proposal to send well control experts to the platform by helicopter, Reuters reported.

"The company has prepared risk assessments for landing a helicopter on the platform and sending a team to carry out observations at the site of the gas release," an HSE spokesman told the news wire on Sunday.

Total is considering a proposal to kill the leak using drilling mud at the source of the gas leak.

The oil company has already said it is readying plans to drill a relief well with one rig mobilised and another likely to follow. In the case of a relief well, it is standard practice for two rigs to begin drilling and one to stop when the other has been successful. Drilling could start in a week.

Nobody was immediately available for an official update from Total on Monday. The French company is due to host a press conference on the issue on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a Greenpeace vessel is expected to arrive at the edge of the two-mile exclusion zone around Elgin sometime on Monday.

The environmental campaign group says it plans to take its own air and water samples in the area to learn more about the impact of the incident.

The flare gushing from the flare stack on the Elgin platform finally burned itself out on Friday eliminating one significant risk of combustion of the gas leaking from the facility.

Total shut in all production at its Elgin and Franklin fields following the discovery of the leak over a week ago. The oil major evacuated all 238 workers from the Elgin facility and the adjacent Rowan Viking.

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell also pulled all workers from its nearby Shearwater platform.

Newsletter signup


Become an Upstream member!

Membership includes a subscription to our weekly newspaper providing in-depth news from the energy industry, plus full-access to this site and its archives. Still not convinced? Try our free trial.

Already a member?