Total could stop North Sea gas leak by end April: report

Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:36am EDT
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PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - A leak at Total's (TOTF.PA: Quote) North Sea Elgin gas platform could be stopped by the end of April, if everything goes as planned, U.K. managing director Philippe Guys said in a newspaper interview.

Guys told Scottish daily The Press and Journal that the French oil major planned to carry out a successful "dynamic kill" on the leaking G4 well before May.

"We are working hard and if all goes as planned we envisage by the end of this month we should be having control of the well," he was quoted as saying.

Total has said the leak is costing it $2.5 million a day so far, and its stock has dropped by almost 7 percent since it was reported, knocking billions of euros off the company's value.

Total was not immediately available to comment on the Guys interview on Wednesday.

In a statement late last night, Total had said it would take weeks of preparatory work, including several helicopter flights to transport equipment onto the rig, before a procedure to kill the well could begin.

Specialist equipment was flown into Aberdeen in Scotland over the weekend from Houston-based crisis management company Wild Well Control which is advising Total on how to plug the leak.

Total plans to pump mud into the well to stop the gas leak after a reconnaissance team found that conditions were safe enough to allow the operation.

Guys was speaking after another specialist team on Tuesday flew to the platform to carry out inspections, cleaning work, and to record the pressure of the gas spewing out of the platform.   Continued...

The Elgin platform in the North Sea is seen in this undated photograph received in London on March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Total E&P/Handout