Sea-bed problems at Elgin-B platform may lead to Total shutdown

Elgin-B platform; Photography by Total
Elgin-B platform; Photography by Total

French-owned oil giant Total may be forced to plug and partly-abandon its Elgin-B North Sea oil platform following a sub-sea-bed incident.

The company confirmed it has encountered difficulties whilst drilling a well on its Central Graben asset.  

A spokesman added: “The well remains under full control at the surface and the situation is under continuous review.

“Wireline measurements carried out inside the drill string indicate some flow exists within the well which means part of the well may need to be plugged and abandoned.”

Only staff involved in drilling the well are now allowed on to the wellhead platform, while the wells from Elgin B have been shut down.

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, said: “This is a worrying development, as this is the not the first time Total has had problems at its Elgin-Frankin field.

“Five years ago, a leak on its platform complex led to an emergency evacuation and a halt to production for almost a year.

“Protecting staff and the marine environment should always be priority number one for the oil and gas industry. Given the previous problems at this site, serious questions need to be asked by the relevant authorities as to what is going on.”

More than 90% of Total’s production in the UK comes from several operated fields located offshore in two major zones: the Alwyn- Dunbar area in the northern North Sea and the Elgin-Franklin area in the Central Graben, about 100 miles off the Grampian coast.

In 2012, Total was fined £1.125m for a gas leak at the Elgin platform.


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