Total Confirms Elgin Gas Leak Op Success

Total announced Monday that, after five days of close monitoring it is now able to confirm the success of the well intervention operation it started on May 15 on the leaking G4 well on the Elgin complex.

Last Wednesday, the firm began the pumping of heavy mud into the well and within 12 hours the gas leak was stopped.

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).
Since last Wednesday, Total has made several inspection visits to the wellhead platform that have confirmed the leak has completely stopped. The next phase – expected to take several weeks – will be to re-man the Elgin complex and restart the Rowan Viking rig in order to set cement plugs in the G4 well.
Meanwhile, Total has decided along with authorities overseeing the Elgin operation that a second relief well drilled by the Rowan Gorilla V (400' ILC) is no longer necessary and this has been cancelled.
"While we will obviously take on board any lessons to be learned, I want to congratulate all the teams, including our partners that have been mobilised with the only focus to stop the leak. Safely evacuating everyone from the platform and adjacent drilling rig, preventing any serious environmental impact and recovering control of the G4 well is a highly commendable effort from the teams involved. I also want to thank the UK authorities for their co-operation and assistance since the leak began," said Yves-Louis Darricarrère, Total's president for exploration and production.
"Now, it is important that we continue to work together with the authorities to conclude the ongoing investigations, take into account lessons learnt and define the necessary conditions for restarting production of the Elgin-Franklin fields."

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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Aderemi Olusegun | May. 21, 2012
Congratulation to all that make the program a huge success. I know all have lernt a good lesson from the incident

Treilly Pierre | May. 21, 2012
It is far cheaper to think about quality assurance than to call for firefighters. The drilling & productions teams are convinced to ptimize all the time and refuse than QA/QC people help them. We will get more incidents.

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