Total cleared for kill operation on leaking North Sea gas well

Offshore staff

PARIS – The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has granted environmental permits to Total for a dynamic kill operation on the leaking Elgin well in the central North Sea.

The operation will involve using heavy drilling mud pumped into the G4 well from the wellhead to stop the gas release.

DECC has performed a full environmental assessment of the operation and Britain’s Health and Safety Executive has not opposed the intended activity.

Total will use the West Phoenix semisubmersible drilling rig as the pumping vessel for the intervention operation. It will be stationed alongside the Elgin complex.

A DECC spokesman said: “The dynamic kill operation is a major step for Total and offers the quickest way to stop the release from the well. In parallel, work is under way to drill a relief well as an alternative solution. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Late last week, Total said it hoped to begin the intervention within the coming days, subject to favorable conditions.

Improved weather and the fitting of a “diverter” device to the leaking G4 wellhead, taking fugitive gas and condensate away from the platform, allowed eight further flights to bring specialist teams to the Elgin complex.

These visits have focused primarily on completing installation of the temporary pipe system on the Production Utilities Quarters (PUQ) platform, linking the bridge and wellhead platform. The system will be used to carry and pump heavy mud from the West Phoenix.

The semisub Sedco 714 is drilling the first back-up relief well.

5/7/2012

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