Total SA (FP), Europe’s third-largest oil producer, plans to begin within days an attempt to plug a North Sea well that has leaked natural gas for almost seven weeks.
“Weather permitting, the well intervention should now start within a very few days,” Total said today in a statement on its website. The estimated leakage rate has fallen to about 50,000 cubic meters a day from an initial figure of 200,000 cubic meters, the company said.
Gas has escaped from the G4 well at the Elgin platform, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, since March 25. Paris-based Total plans to plug the leak by pumping heavy mud into the well, a method known as top-kill, while drilling two relief wells as an alternative solution. Drilling of the first relief well is “progressing,” it said.
The escape of gas has cost Total 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day and shaved about $50 million from net operating income, Chief Financial Officer Patrick de la Chevardiere said on April 27. The company is spending an additional $1.5 million a day on stopping the leak, he said.
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