Total has made significant progress in the past week towards stopping the gas leak on well G4 on its Elgin platform, the French oil major announced over the weekend. This included preparatory work for its planned well control operations and the drilling of both a primary and a back-up relief well.
Following an initial reconnaissance mission on April 5, involving experts from Total and specialist contractors Wild Well Control (WWC), two further flights to the Elgin platform were made on April 10 and 12.
During these two visits additional valuable information was gathered to prepare for the well control operation and to carry out essential cleaning of key areas around the wellhead, where waxy deposits had accumulated.
Several further helicopter flights may be required ahead of the positioning of a well intervention support vessel alongside the Elgin complex.
Two separate vessels are being mobilized. The West Phoenix (DW semisub), an ultra modern drilling rig, arrived on April 11 and is on standby just outside the two nautical mile Elgin exclusion zone. The light intervention vessel the Skandi Aker, is currently in Peterhead harbor in northeast Scotland being fitted with dedicated equipment to support the operations. Both vessels are suitable for the well control operation.
On April 7, a supply plane brought specialist equipment for the well control operation, from Houston to Scotland.
Two rigs are being mobilized for the drilling of the relief wells. The Sedco 714 (mid-water semisub), which is expected to start drilling first, arrived at a standby location outside the Elgin exclusion zone on April 8, where it is awaiting completion of site surveys for the final anchor positions.
The second rig, the Rowan Gorilla V (400' ILC), is currently suspending operations on the nearby West Franklin field before repositioning itself to drill the second relief well.
All operations to stop the leak are progressing according to plan, added Total.
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