North Sea Elgin platform gas leak will permanently plugged by mid-September


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The Independent Online

Work to permanently secure a well at a North Sea oil platform after a massive gas leak is expected to be completed by mid-September, according to its operators.

The Elgin platform, around 150 miles (241km) from Aberdeen, was evacuated of all 238 workers when it started leaking gas in March, as were some sites nearby.

The leak was only stopped on May 15 with a well-intervention operation which pumped heavy mud and cement into the underwater well.

Operator Total said the well has remained "stable" and "significant" progress has been made towards a permanent solution.

It said in a statement: "Total and its contractors have now restarted the essential safety and support systems on board the Elgin complex and the adjacent Rowan Viking drilling rig.

"The key stage of putting cement plugs in place to permanently secure the well is ongoing and expected to be completed by mid-September.

"The overall environmental impact of the incident has been minimal as the majority of the condensate (gas) released evaporated, while the rest falling to sea and adding to the surface sheen also evaporated or dispersed completely within days."

Total also said it continues to work with all appropriate bodies to assess and monitor any impact on the environment, and with the investigators looking into the cause of the leak.