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DECC Clears Way for Elgin Mud Kill

Elgin diverter (Source: Total E&P UK)
Elgin diverter (Source: Total E&P UK)

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has given the go ahead to a dynamic kill operation planned by Total to stem the Elgin gas leak.

The dynamic kill operation is one of two options suggested by Total to deal with the leak and the company has said previously it is the preferred option. The operation will see the French major injecting heavy mud into the G4 welhead identified as the source of the leak. The West Phoenix rig, which has recently moved adjacent to the leak site, will perform the pumping of the mud.

In addition to this dynamic kill operation, Total is also drilling two relief wells, the first of which has already begun.

The DECC said last night that it had performed a full environmental assessment of the dynamic kill operation and says it has no objections to the operation following on from those results.

"The Government and Total have been working hard to ensure the Elgin gas release is dealt with as quickly and as safely as possible with minimal impact on the environment," a spokesman for the DECC said.

"The dynamic kill operation is a major step for Total and offers the quickest way to stop the release from the well. In parallel, work is underway to drill a relief well as an alternative solution. We continue to monitor the situation closely."

The approval puts Total on target for the dynamic kill operation, which it expected to begin this week. A diverter, which was fitted in the past fortnight, was the first step to beginning this operation, CFO Patrick de La Chevardiére said last week.

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