Total shuts in gas production from North Sea fields

Production was shut in from Elgin, Franklin, and West Franklin natural gas and condensate fields in the UK North Sea following a Mar. 25 gas leak on the wellhead platform on Elgin field 240 km east of Aberdeen, Total SA reported.

The leak continues, Total said Mar. 27. The company launched internal emergency procedures, and crisis management teams were mobilized in Aberdeen and Paris. No injuries were reported; 238 people were evacuated.

“Investigations are ongoing to analyze the causes and to determine the remediation of the gas leak,” Total said. The leak reportedly was detected during work to plug and abandon a well.

A surveillance aircraft confirmed a sheen on the water from drilling mud and light condensate. Preliminary assessments indicate no significant environmental damage, and dispersants are not considered necessary at this stage, Total said.

Oil Spill Response Ltd. was alerted. Total E&P UK Ltd. is cooperating fully with authorities including the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

Elgin and Franklin are high-pressure, high-temperature gas and condensate fields in the North Sea’s Central Graben area.

Total E&P UK owns 46.17% and operates both fields. Its share of production was around 60,000 boe/d in 2011.

The Elgin-Franklin complex involves two wellhead platforms, one on Elgin and one on Franklin along with a production-utilities-quarters (PUQ) platform. The PUQ is on Elgin field and is linked to the Elgin wellhead platform by a 90-m bridge.

Hydrocarbons produced from Elgin, Franklin, and West Franklin fields are collected, separated, and treated on the PUQ. Liquid hydrocarbons are exported through the Forties Pipeline System via Cruden Bay to Kinneil for processing and then exported through the Shearwater Elgin Area Line (SEAL) pipeline to Bacton in Norfolk.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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