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“Top Kill” well intervention due “within a very few days”

Oilfield Technology,

French company Total has announced that its planned “Top Kill” well intervention scheme is due “within a very few days.” The company’s North Sea Elgin rig has been leaking gas since late March, although the estimated daily rate of the leak has reportedly decreased by up to 75%

The West Pheonix semisubmersible is currently situated just 30 m away from the Elgin platform, and according to Total, is ready to begin the intervention.

The company was recently given the all clear by UK authorities to perform the well intervention as soon as it was able. During the operation, heavy drilling mud will be pumped into the well in an attempt to stem the currently uncontrolled flow of gas.

Gas flow declines

According to the company, information gathered from 11 flights over the area had shown that the “leakage rate of gas continues to diminish significantly.” When the leak was first discovered, the flow rate was an estimated 2 kg/sec. of gas, whereas now the flow is believed to only be approximately 0.6 kg/sec.

The Scottish government has stated that, despite the fact that the well has been leaking for nearly two months, fish and water studies taken from around the 2-mile exclusion zone have shown no signs of contamination.

Financial cost

A spokesman from Total has claimed that the Elgin leak was costing the company US$ 3 million per day; US$ 1.5 million for the relief operation, and US$ 1.5 million in lost income.

There have, however, been tentative claims that production at Elgin may start again at some point later in the year.

Edited from various sources by David Bizley

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