Following a report of a well control problem at 12.15hrs on 25 March on the Elgin Well Head Platform and Rowan Viking Drilling Rig, the operator Total E&P UK Limited (Total), with assistance from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, has completed the evacuation of all crew. All personnel are reported safe with no injuries.
The incident occurred during work to plug and abandon the well, which was no longer producing gas. Total has now shut in all wells but remote monitoring has revealed that gas continues to be released. In addition a sheen was observed on the sea surface in the vicinity of the installations. The sheen is believed to be gas condensate, a petrol like substance that typically disperses naturally to the atmosphere within hours of release. Because of the nature of gas condensate there is no indication of a risk of significant pollution to the environment.
Aerial surveillance, mobilised by Total and conducted at 08.45hrs today found a light sheen with a dimension of 6 x 0.75 nautical miles. The estimated quantity of hydrocarbon associated with the sheen is between two and 23.5 tonnes. Another aerial surveillance flight departed at 1500hrs today as part of the ongoing monitoring operation of the area.
The priority now is to plan an appropriate response to contain the leak and minimise the impact to the environment. Total have established their Emergency Response Centre (ERC) and have activated their Oil Pollution Emergency Plan. A DECC Offshore Environmental Inspector has been present in the ERC and DECC continues to monitoring the ongoing response. The Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) is aware of the incident and is closely monitoring Total’s response.
A copy of the Total E & P UK LTD amended offshore Oil Pollution Emergency Plan for the Central Graben Area, incorporating the dynamic top kill operation, is available below.
This OPEP has been redacted for any personal information and any operations which are as yet unapproved.
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