|North Sea Gas Leak Finally Plugged|
|Written by Michelle Reeves, Four Green Steps|
|Thursday, 07 June 2012 01:09|
Written by Michelle Reeves, Four Green Steps
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After nearly two months of spewing up to 7 million cubic feet of natural gas, Total’s Elgin platform gas leak in the North Sea was finally plugged at 8:20 pm (GMT) Tuesday May 15th. Located 150 miles off the coast of Scotland, the leak, which started March 25th, was costing the French oil and gas giant 3 million dollars a day.
The Elgin platform digs 4 miles below the seabed, making it one of the deepest and most highly pressurized gas extraction platforms in the world. It produces 3% of Britain’s entire gas output. However, the well that leaked was not in use.
238 employees had to be evacuated for fear of a massive explosion. Thick mud was pumped into the leaking well for 12 hours to stop the gas flow and a parallel relief well was being drilled to try and reduce economic loss and environmental impact. It is too early to say when production will get back on track, especially with Total facing several other issues abroad. The company has been dealing with safety issues in Yemen and a week-long gas leak in Nigeria that was also finally plugged today.
"Since March 25th, 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," stated Yves-Louis Darricarrère, Total’s head of exploration and production division.
Water quality and fish have been tested within a two mile radius and serious impact has yet to be found. But as the BP Gulf of Mexico has demonstrated, sometimes these negative impacts are only obvious several years later. The North Sea debacle has cost Total an estimated 300 million dollars.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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