Total reviews North Sea Elgin well control options

Offshore staff

PARIS – Total is drawing up a program to regain control of the leaking well on the Elgin HP/HT gas field in the UK central North Sea.

The company has initiated two main action plans. The first involves performing the well control operation using a floating support vessel and pumping mud into the well.

This solution would require re-boarding the wellhead platform, where the flare extinguished itself this past weekend. Total is collaborating with the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to agree conditions under which regaining access can be safely achieved.

Once access has been secured, preparations for controlling the well can proceed. The company is sourcing support vessels for this operation. Two suitable vessels have been chartered, one boat and one rig. Each has dynamic positioning capability that would suit the planned operation.

The second action plan concerns drilling a relief well and a back-up relief well. Total has already mobilized two rigs to drill these wells. One is the Sedco 714, currently drilling on the Fettercairn field 400 km (248 mi) north of Elgin. The second is the Rowan Gorilla V, currently operating for Total on the West Franklin field 6 km (3.7 mi) from Elgin. Both will be available after completing current operations, but Total is also considering bringing in other rigs.

Two other vessels are standing by on location. One is an ROV deployment vessel to perform underwater inspections close to the Elgin platform. Another similar vessel is on hand to conduct seabed surveys of possible locations for relief wells.

However, both vessels are waiting for sea conditions to improve prior to deployment. Otherwise, reconnaissance and monitoring continues of the site by aircraft and fire fighting vessels.



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