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."
Richard Lochhead, MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment has said that an 'abandoned platform' is 'deeply worrying' and has called for all information to be shared so that 'we can understand all the facts.'
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.
Marine pollution specialist: 'Gas leak could harm marine life'
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".