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.
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".
Total has flown in 10-20 specialist engineers to tackle the leak and enlisted the services of Wild Well Control, which was heavily involved in the BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Total UK is considering all options including drilling a relief well to stem a massive gas leak at its Elgin PUQ oil rig in the North Sea, which could take six months, a spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.
There are two options for intervening. One is drilling a relief well which could take about six months. The other is a platform intervention to kill the well...This would be a faster option. We expect to decide on a plan in the coming days.
– David Hainsworth, health, safety and environment manager, Total E&P UK