North Sea gas leak

Shell has removed oil workers from two offshore rigs in the North Sea after a serious gas leak at a nearby Elgin platform, operated by Total. Engineers are still trying to find the source of the leak.

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Operators: 'No immediate concern' of explosion

Elgin Well Head platform
Total have released a statement saying the situation is "currently stable." Credit: Total E&P UK

The Elgin Well Head offshore gas platform is still leaking gas tonight. Operators insist that there is "no immediate concern" of a flare igniting or an explosion taking place.

All 238 workers have been removed from the site.

In a statement, Total said the situation is "currently stable. "

Total: Elgin platform flare is safe

Elgin PUQ platform in the North Sea
Elgin PUQ platform in the North Sea Credit: TOTAL E&P UK Ltd

Total have released the following statement about the safety of the Elgin platform. A safety flare has been lit on the platform since yesterday to burn off and help clear dangerous substances:

"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."

Total has 'not identified cause of gas leak'

Oil company Total is still trying to identify the specific cause of a gas leak at its Elgin PUQ platform in the North Sea. A spokesman for the company said: "We have not precisely identified the cause of the incident."

He added that a solution was still being evaluated and that it "is a question of days" to find one. The French firm warned on Tuesday that it could take six months to halt the flow if it decides to drill a relief well.

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Marine pollution specialist: 'Gas leak could harm marine life'

Two-mile exclusion zone has been set up around the offshore platform which has been evacuated after a gas leak.
Two-mile exclusion zone has been set up around the offshore platform which has been evacuated after a gas leak. Credit: TOTAL E&P UK Ltd/PA Wire

Dr Martin Preston, marine pollution specialist and research fellow at the University of Liverpool has said that a gas leak at one of operator Total's offshore platform could harm marine life. Dr Preston said that the process to drill a relief well may take months. He said:

"The gas in this field is 'sour gas' - it contains hydrogen sulphide which is very poisonous to humans and aquatic life - so localised risks to marine life are likely".

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