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Total's Elgin Approved for Reopen

Elgin-Franklin platform (Source: Total)
Elgin-Franklin platform (Source: Total)

The U.K. government's health authority, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has approved Total's Elgin field to resume operations almost a year after a gas leak was detected.

The leak, which was first detected on the 25th of March last year, caused a completed shutdown of the Scottish North Sea field and the evacuation of all rig staff in the initial days after the leak began. In the week following the evacuation, Total, accompanied by Texan leak specialists Wild Well Control, sourced the leak to the G4 wellhead. The leak did not subsequently grow in size and operations to stem the well lasted seven weeks.

Last month, Total officially announced that it had confirmed the cause of the leak--a "unique" interaction between rock compaction and pipe corrosion.

In a statement today, the HSE said that it has accepted the safety case for the resumption of operations at the Elgin installation.

"The company undertook to demonstrate that it had re-evaluated the risks associated with operating the installation by resubmitting the safety case required by HSE to permit production," it said. "It will now be for Total to decide when to restart operations.

"HSE's investigation into the incident in March 2012 is ongoing."

In January of this year, CEO of Total Christophe de Margerie told Reuters news agency that the company was keen to see operations restart on the field. At that time, the cost of the leak to the company was estimated at €260 million.

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