Total Stops Elgin Gas Leak

Total Stops Elgin Gas Leak

Total announced on Wednesday morning (London time) that it has stopped the gas leak at the G4 well on its Elgin complex in the North Sea.

A day earlier, the French oil major announced that it had begun a well-intervention operation that involved the pumping of heavy mud into the leaking well. On Wednesday, the firm said that it took 12 hours to stop the leak.
The mud was pumped from Total's main support vessel – the West Phoenix (UDW semisub) drilling rig – via a temporary pipeline connected to the G4 wellhead.
The G4 wellhead had been leaking gas following an incident on March 25, which led to 238 people being evacuated from the Elgin platform and from an adjacent drilling rig: the Rowan Viking (430' ILC).
Last week, several flights over the area by Oil Spill Response found that the leakage rate of gas had diminished significantly from an estimated initial gas flow rate of around 2 kilograms per second to an estimated 0.5 kilograms per second.
Now that the leak appears to have been stopped completely, teams of experts from Total and specialist contractors employed by the company will closely monitor the G4 well in order to confirm the complete success of the intervention, said Total on Wednesday.
Commenting on the Elgin situation, Total President of Exploration and Production Yves-Louis Darricarrère said: "Today, a major turning point has been achieved. Our absolute priority was to stop the gas leak safely and as quickly as possible. Since March 25, we have been working closely with the authorities and we have communicated transparently and will continue to do so. We shall now fully complete the ongoing task and take into account the lessons learnt from this incident."
At lunchtime on Wednesday, Sir Robert Smith – a Member of Parliament for the Scottish Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency –  commented: "This is a welcome development. There still remains the challenge of ensuring there is a permanent solution. It is clearly crucial that all lessons are learned to avoid a repeat of such an incident and that these lessons are shared with all other operators."

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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H.Von der Lieth | May. 16, 2012
A dutch finger could have done it in days-about time that you Frogs are done--Harry the Horse

Daniel Dominick | May. 16, 2012
Great achievement. I hope they haul the management team responsible for not listening to their subordinates concerns over the coals. For this to happen after such a short period of time after the Deepwater Horizon incident is indefensible. Are our drilling teams really that poor that we can have such a similar incident in that short period, with people within the team saying there was something not right. Sixty STOP cards a day doesn’t stop management arrogance, and it seems in the drilling fraternity it actually encourages it. Imagine the disaster this would have been had that gas ignited. TIME FOR OIL & GAS INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES TO STOP & STEP BACK TO REASSESS THEIR PUSHING OF THE DRILLING TEAMS. STOP THE GUNG HO AMERICAN ATTITUDE TO SAFETY AS SEEN ON THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL.

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