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North Sea Gas Leak


Kowalski
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The flare is an integral part of the platform's safety system. In an emergency it is used to safely evacuate all the gas from the platform. During the incident it performed this task perfectly, allowing everyone to evacuate safely.

 

When the emergency de-pressurisation is initiated, all hydrocarbons feeds are closed and valves are opened on installations vessels to de-pressurise gas to the flare. These valves remain open as they are designed to in such circumstances.

 

The flare is still lit because when the platform is shut down and de-pressurised in an emergency, it cannot be fully purged as done in a controlled shutdown. This is perfectly normal. Some liquids do remain in the system and these liquids are now evaporating. As these liquids evaporate the flow of hydrocarbons to the flare will exhaust itself and the flare should burn out.

 

At present the flare does not pose any immediate risk as the layout is designed to take into account the prevailing wind direction, ensuring that these winds are taking any gas from a potential leak in the wellhead area in the opposite direction to the flare. This is in fact exactly what is happening. The wind is forecast to remain in its current direction for the coming days. You can be assured that this is being reviewed on a constant basis and should this change any impact is being assessed. In parallel we are investigating solutions to extinguish the flare if it does not burn out by itself.

 

We will continue to make information available via the following:

 

www.twitter.com/TotalEPUK

www.totalepmediacentre.com/go?Elgin25mar2012

http://www.flickr.com/photos/totalepuk/

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  • 1 month later...
The gas leak from the Elgin platform in the North Sea has been stopped, according to oil firm Total.

 

The company's platform was evacuated when the gas began leaking on Sunday 25 March.

 

An attempt to stop the leak by pumping heavy mud into the well got under way on Tuesday.

 

Total said the operation had stopped the well leak within 12 hours and described the development as a "major turning point".

 

Yves-Louis Darricarrère, Total's president of exploration and production, said: "Our absolute priority was to stop the gas leak safely and as quickly as possible.

 

"We shall now fully complete the ongoing task and take into account the lessons learnt from this incident."

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