Further significant steps have been taken this week towards stopping the Elgin gas leak, including the installation of a key piece of equipment on the G4 well to divert leaking gas away from the wellhead platform.
Known as a diverter, this specially manufactured device has been connected to the G4 wellhead and is now carrying the flow of leaking gas, via four flexible hoses, away from the wellhead and the platform. The fitting of this device ensures that there is no gas accumulating around the G4 wellhead or the platform. This reinforces the safety of the well intervention operation and helps alleviate restrictions on helicopter landings on the platform from now on.
Due to the unfavourable weather conditions, a team of experts from Total and specialist contractors were able to make only two further flights to the Elgin platform this week. During these visits, in addition to installing the diverter, they were able to continue laying down essential equipment for the well intervention and undertook further monitoring and inspection.
The state-of-the-art, dynamically positioned drilling rig, the West Phoenix, will be used as the main support vessel for the well intervention operation and is preparing for the operation while located on the edge of the 2 nautical mile Elgin exclusion zone. The Skandi Aker, currently still in Peterhead harbour in Scotland, will have a complementary supporting role during this operation.
Next steps will be the manoeuvring of the West Phoenix alongside Elgin complex to be in a position to start the well intervention operation as soon as possible.
In parallel, drilling of the first relief well by the Sedco 714, 2 km east of the Elgin complex, is progressing according to plan.
Source: Total, April 26, 2012