Total gas leak: Greenpeace says infrared shows extent of gas cloud

Infrared image of gas cloud provided by Greenpeace. Picture: Getty//AFP
Infrared image of gas cloud provided by Greenpeace. Picture: Getty//AFP
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THIS is the dramatic infrared photograph, said to show the extent of the gas cloud at the abandoned Elgin platform, which was released yesterday by the environmental pressure group Greenpeace.

The image was taken from the Greenpeace vessel Koningin Juliana, which sailed to the edge of the exclusion zone around the stricken installation, 150 miles east of Aberdeen, earlier this week.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “This is a midwave-infrared camera image taken on 3 April by Greenpeace and shows the gas cloud from French energy giant Total’s Elgin rig off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, where gas began leaking on 25 March.

“The picture shows the temperature of the surface with light tones, showing hot, and dark tones indicating cold. Methane gas has been leaking from the wellhead of the platform for days.

“The gas cloud is higher than the natural cloud.

“It is very difficult to say how high the gas cloud is, but we estimate between 200 and 500 metres.”

The spokesman claimed: “This gas cloud of highly explosive. It is a very dangerous situation.

“The picture was taken from outside the security zone at a distance of three nautical miles around Elgin.

“Total has said it would send a team of experts by helicopter to the platform to assess how to stop the potentially explosive gas leak.”

According to Total, the well at the centre of the gas release has been leaking gas at the rate of about 200,000 cubic metres per day.