North Sea Rigs Evacuated on Explosion Risk

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Total SA’s Elgin platform leaked gas for a third day in the U.K. North Sea, and neighboring rigs were evacuated to guard against the risk of an explosion.

Total, France’s largest oil company, may drill an emergency well to stem the leak and has halted work at a nearby field to free up a rig, David Hainsworth, a health, safety and environment manager for Total, said today by phone from Aberdeen, Scotland, that drilling a relief well to intercept the leak would take a “minimum of six months.”

The platform was evacuated and production halted after a “well control problem” caused a leak on March 25. Total has flown in outside experts to help stem the flow of fuel, which prompted Royal Dutch Shell Plc. to move staff from its neighboring Shearwater field. The Elgin and Franklin fields, which send oil and gas through the platform, supply about 15 percent of Forties crude, the biggest component of Dated Brent used to price more than half of the world’s oil.

As well as gas, about 23 metric tons of condensate, a type of light oil, has been released from the leak above the water on the platform, said Brian O’Neill, a Total spokesman in Aberdeen. A cloud can be seen rising above the platform, Hainsworth said.

Total said the well causing the leak remained plugged, and gas was coming from a smaller reservoir nearer to the surface. The leak may exhaust itself naturally, Hainsworth said.

Condensate was released into the sea, causing a “sheen” of 2 miles by 0.75 miles yesterday, which has grown since then, he said. There is an exclusion zone in place of 2 miles for shipping and 3 miles for aircraft.

It’s a “serious incident,” said Tom Whittles, an Edinburgh- based spokesman for the Scottish government. Still, it won’t have a “strong environmental impact on the area,” as the condensate will probably evaporate, he said.

Outside technicians from Houston are helping the effort to stop the leak, and other North Sea operators have offered assistance, O’Neill said, declining to identify the companies.

The incident occurred during efforts to plug and abandon a well, an official at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today by telephone, declining to be identified, in line with policy. Pressure began rising during the process, causing a “blow-out,” Hainsworth said.
The Elgin-Franklin fields produced a daily average of 61,386 barrels of condensate in November, the most recent government data show, according to Bloomberg calculations. That’s about 15 percent of all Forties shipments that month, loading data show. Shareholders in both fields include Eni SpA, BG Group Plc, EON AG, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp, Dyas AS and Summit Petroleum Ltd.

“The Forties crude oil stream should be affected by the problems Total currently has,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Zug, Switzerland-based Petromatrix GmbH.

Elgin produces 5.5 million cubic meters of gas a day and Franklin 7.8 million cubic meters, according to Mark Ironside, a Total spokesman in Aberdeen.

Condensate from the fields is exported through the Forties pipeline to Scotland’s Kinneil terminal. Gas is pumped via BP Plc.’s Unity Riser into the Bacton Seal terminal in eastern England, operated by Shell, according to Total’s website.

Shell carried out a “partial evacuation” of staff from its Shearwater oil and gas field as precaution, said Ross Whittam, a Shell spokesman. Shearwater is about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from Elgin. Output from the Scoter and Starling fields, which passes through the Shearwater platform, hasn’t been affected, Whittam said. Drilling operations at the Noble Hans Duel drilling rig have also been suspended as a precaution, he said. (Bloomberg)

 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Volvo Penta Names Brown Commercial Marine Sales Director

Dave Brown has joined Volvo Penta of the Americas as director of commercial marine sales.   In this new position, Brown will provide strategic and administrative

Romica Manufacturer Secures DNV GL Approval

U.K. winch maker Romica said it is to “redouble its exports drive” after its Romania-based manufacturing partner successfully acquired accreditation with DNV GL.

HII Names Leonard a Corporate Director

Capt. Joseph J. Leonard (U.S. Navy, Ret.) has joined Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) as corporate director of customer affairs, large surface combatant program, the shipbuilder announced.

Environmental

Two DNV GL Approvals for GTT Training Software

GTT Training, a GTT subsidiary dedicated to training liquefied natural gas (LNG) professionals and to the development of associated simulation tools, has obtained

How to Avoid Claims for Self-cooking Cargo

North P&I Club has advised its members to be extra vigilant during loading and transport of soya beans to ensure they do not get blamed for cargoes that start ‘cooking’ at sea.

China sets up South China Sea environment protection fund

China has set up a 15 million yuan ($2.25 million) environmental protection fund for the South China Sea having already spent double that in the past four years,

Energy

Los Angeles Pushes for Valero Terminal Improvements

The Port of Los Angeles has released an Initial Study/Notice of Preparation (IS/NOP) — the first step in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process — for a Marine

Canada Seek to contain Oil Spill

Authorities are building a new containment boom to fight an oil spill in a major western Canadian river, officials said on Saturday, after the spill breached a

Ecuador Pays $112 mln Award to Chevron

Ecuador has paid $112 million to energy company Chevron Corp over a four-decade-old contract dispute, even though it remains in disagreement, the head of the central bank has said.

News

New Ferry MV Woods Hole Delivered

The newly built ferry M/V Woods Hole has been delivered to serve Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.   Built by Conrad Industries of Morgan City, La.

New Details Emerge on Loss of USS Indianapolis

A Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) historian has recently uncovered information that sheds new light on the loss of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35).

Volvo Penta Names Brown Commercial Marine Sales Director

Dave Brown has joined Volvo Penta of the Americas as director of commercial marine sales.   In this new position, Brown will provide strategic and administrative

Maritime Safety

ASEAN Breaks South China Sea Deadlock

Manila drops request to refer to court ruling in statement. Southeast Asian nations overcame days of deadlock on Monday when the Philippines dropped a request

Passenger Vessel Runs Aground off Hawaii

The 65-foot commercial passenger vessel Spirit of Kona ran aground on the island of Hawaii, Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.   Coast Guard Sector Honolulu

Piracy Drops to 21-year low - IMB

Piracy and armed robbery at sea has fallen to its lowest levels since 1995, despite a surge in kidnappings off West Africa, according to a new report from the International

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1560 sec (6 req/sec)