TOTAL continue to work to permanently resolve the Elgin G4 well issues. Since the gas condensate release was stopped in May, periodic circulation of oil based drilling mud has been used to control the well. This has resulted in a number of mud discharges over the course of the operations, which have been observed to sink with no visible impact outside the immediate vicinity of the Elgin complex.
TOTAL have now fitted a specially designed system and transferred a supply of storage tanks to the installation to capture the oil based mud and minimise the potential for further discharges.
An estimate of the quantity of hydrocarbons released during the G4 release has been reported by TOTAL to the HSE.
Estimated quantities released to the atmosphere:
- Gas - 3096 tonnes
- Condensate - 3076 tonnes
An estimated 407 tonnes of the gas condensate was reported to DECC as settling on sea and forming a surface sheen. This was observed to evaporate and disperse completely within days of the settlement.
Overall DECC considers the environmental impact of the incident to be localised and minimal.
TOTAL are now executing their plan to put cement plugs in place and totally secure the well, currently scheduled for completion by mid-September, before finally plugging and abandoning the well.
HSE, DECC, MCA, Marine Scotland and the Elgin Government Interest and Environment Groups continue to closely monitor and assess the situation.