Since the gas leak on the Elgin G4 well was stopped by a successful well intervention operation on 15 May, the G4 well has remained stable and significant further progress has been made moving towards a permanent solution.
Total and its contractors have now restarted the essential safety and support systems on board the Elgin complex and the adjacent Rowan Viking drilling rig. The key stage of putting cement plugs in place to permanently secure the well is ongoing and expected to be completed by mid-September.
Specific important milestones achieved since the leak was stopped, include:
- reinstatement of power and safety systems on the Elgin complex and Rowan Viking
- full re-manning of the Elgin PUQ accommodation (138 personnel)
- recovery of all essential functions on the Rowan Viking; some 60 people are now living on board and the rig is performing ongoing intervention operations on G4
- interim storage facilities have been provided for the discharge of oil based drilling muds during the circulation operations, pending full re-commissioning of the rig facilities
- release of the West Phoenix drilling rig, the main support vessel during the well intervention, now back drilling the Tomintoul exploration well, West of Shetland
- suspension of the drilling of a relief well by the Sedco 714 after reaching a depth of 3700 metres
- follow-up visits to Elgin by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
The overall environmental impact of the incident will have been minimal as the majority of the condensate released evaporated, while the rest falling to sea and adding to the surface sheen also evaporated or dispersed completely within days.
Accurate estimates of the products released have been officially reported to the HSE and DECC. Total continues to work closely with DECC, Marine Scotland and other appropriate bodies to asses and monitor any environmental impacts, and will continue to do so even after the cement plugs are in place.
Total continues also to co-operate fully with the ongoing HSE investigation into the cause of the G4 leak.
Read more on the Elgin incident.
Press Release, August 3, 2012