Total assessing Elgin options

On board: picture shows Elgin wellhead assembly last week

Total is still accessing its options with regards to plugging a large gas leak at a North Sea facility which the French major says is diminishing.

One of two rigs chartered with a view to drilling relief wells also continues towards the scene of the leak from the Elgin processing, utilities and quarters (PUQ) platform but will stand off at the perimeter of an exclusion zone, a spokesperson told Upstream on Monday.

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

Last week Total send a team of well control experts b y helicopter to the leaking facility and, although they returned safely, the company has yet to decide on a plan to stop the leak.

The spokesperson also said there are no firm plans as yet to dispatch another team to the platform, with no significant development due on Monday.

Gas was spewing from the platform at a rate of some 7 million cubic feet per day, but this has diminished, the spokesperson said without providing updated figures.

A sheen of gas condensate also remains visible on the water surface.

Total is considering a ‘top kill’ procedure to plug the leak using drilling mud. Simultaneously it intends to begin drilling two relief wells which would be halted should the top kill job be successful.

Transocean’s Sedco 714 rig is en route to the scene, the spokesperson said. A broking source suggested last week that it would arrive on the scene on Sunday or Monday.

The Rowan Gorilla V has also been hired by the French company with a view to drilling relief wells.

Total shut in all production at its Elgin and Franklin fields following the discovery of the leak over two weeks 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.

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