TotalFinaElf picked Coflexip Stena Offshore
and Stolt Offshore to pump oil from the tanker Erika, which sank off France's Atlantic coast. TotalFinaElf, which has faced widespread criticism in France for the disaster, has agreed with the government to pump up to 15,000 tons of heavy fuel still believed to be trapped in the holds of the tanker.
The difficult operation, involving two ships with pumps and a tanker to carry the recovered oil to the Donges refinery near Nantes, is scheduled to begin next month. It is expected to be completed in September. TotalFinaElf has estimated the cost of the operation at $57 million.