THE Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given the go ahead for production to resume on Total’s Elgin platform - almost a year after the installation was shutdown following an uncontrolled gas leak.
The platform, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, had to be completely abandoned on 25 March last year when the leak of potentially explosive gas and condensate first began.
At its height, the leaking well was spewing gas into the atmosphere at the rate of seven million cubic feet per day, costing Total up to £248 million in lost production.
The operation to stem the leak by pumping mud into the well from the drilling rig West Phoenix finally stopped the leak on 16 May last year after 1,000 tonnes of mud had been poured into the well:
A spokesman for the Government;s health and safety watchdog said today that the HSE had accepted Total’s revised safety case for the North Sea field.
He said: “HSE has informed Total that we have accepted the safety case for the Elgin installation. The company undertook to demonstrate that it had re-evaluated the risks associated with operating the installation by resubmitting the safety case required by HSE to permit production.
“It will now be for Total to decide when to restart operations. HSE’s investigation into the incident in March 2012 is ongoing.
A Total spokesman said: “Now that the HSE has accepted the safety case we will be looking to restart safe production at Elgin as soon as it’s practical to do so, which we hope will be within a very few days. We will make an announcement once production has resumed.”