30/03/2012

Source Of North Sea Gas Leak Has Been Found

Total, owners of the evacuated Elgin oil platform, have said they think theu have found the source of the gas leak.

The French fuel group said they have traced the leak to a gas pocket in a rock formation 4km (2.5 miles) below the seabed but 1km above the gas reservoir being tapped.

After reports that a flare had been left burning on the platform and that the only thing preventing an explosion was the wind blowing the leaking gas away from the flame, the company said they now have two fire-fighting ships on standby at the edge of the two nautical mile (2.3 mile) exclusion zone.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the company said the flare was burning off evaporating liquids still in the platform's system. "As these liquids evaporate the flow of hydrocarbons to the flare will exhaust itself and the flare should burn out," it said.

Admitting there was still a risk of explosion, Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, Total's head of communication added that the firm's first priority had been to evacuate the 238 workers on the platform. He added: "Now, our priority has to be stopping the leak in order to avoid all risk of explosion and also to limit the impact on the environment."


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