French oil major Total, which has been working to halt a gas leak at Elgin platform, in a statement made on Friday said that it has made significant progress in the past week towards stopping the gas leak on well G4 on its Elgin platform.
This included preparatory work for its planned well control operation and the drilling of both a primary and a back-up relief well.
Following an initial reconnaissance mission on April 5th, involving experts from Total and specialist contractors Wild Well Control (WWC), two further flights to the Elgin platform were made this week on April 10th and 12th.
During these two visits additional valuable information was gathered to prepare for the well control operation and to carry out essential cleaning of key areas around the wellhead, where waxy deposits had accumulated.
Several further helicopter flights may be required ahead of the positioning of a well intervention support vessel alongside the Elgin complex. Two separate vessels are being mobilised. The West Phoenix, an ultra modern semi-submersible drilling rig, arrived on April 11th and is on standby just outside the two nautical mile Elgin exclusion zone. The light intervention vessel the Skandi Aker, is currently in Peterhead harbour in North East Scotland being fitted with dedicated equipment to support the operations. Both vessels are suitable for the well control operation.
On April 7th, a supply plane brought specialist equipment for the well control operation, from Houston to Scotland.
Two rigs are being mobilised for the drilling of the relief wells. The Sedco 714, which is expected to start drilling first, arrived at a standby location outside the Elgin exclusion zone on April 8th, where it is awaiting completion of site surveys for the final anchor positions. The second rig, the Rowan Gorilla V is currently suspending operations on the nearby West Franklin field before repositioning itself to drill the second relief well.
Total on March 25 reported that a gas leak following a well operation occurred at the wellhead platform on the Elgin gas field in the UK North Sea approximately 240 km east of Aberdeen. The gas has been spewing into atmosphere ever since.
Elgin and Franklin are two high pressure/high temperature gas and condensate fields, which started production in 2001. They are located in the British North Sea, approximately 240 kilometers east of Aberdeen, in Scotland. The Elgin field was discovered in 1991 and the Franklin field in 1986.
Total operates these fields through its wholly owned affiliate Elgin Franklin Oil & Gas (EFOG) and increased its stake to 46.17% in late 2011. The Group’s equity share of production from the three fields averaged about 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, April 15, 2012; Image: Total