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Total UK cleans Elgin wellhead for kill operation

Total Ltd. UK said workers cleaned waxy deposits off the Elgin platform wellhead in anticipation of a kill operation to stop a gas leak on well G4. In addition, preparatory work is being completed for the drilling of a relief well and a back-up relief well in Elgin gas field in the UK North Sea.

Total representatives and Wild Well Control specialists had made three reconnaissance missions of the Elgin platform as of Apr. 12. All operations to stop the leak are progressing according to plan, Total reported.

Total stopped production on Elgin and Franklin gas fields following a Mar. 25 gas leak on the wellhead platform 240 km east of Aberdeen, Total said. Crisis management teams were mobilized in Aberdeen and Paris. No injuries were reported, and 238 people were evacuated (OGJ Online, Mar. 27, 2012).

During visits to the Elgin complex on Apr. 10 and Apr. 12, workers gathered information to prepare for the kill operation and to carry out essential cleaning of key areas around the wellhead.

Several additional helicopter flights might be required ahead of the positioning of a well intervention support vessel alongside the Elgin complex.

The West Phoenix, a semisubmersible drilling rig, arrived Apr. 11 and is on standby just outside the 2 nautical mile Elgin exclusion zone.

An intervention vessel, the Skandi Aker, is being fitted with dedicated equipment at Peterhead harbor in northeast Scotland to support the Elgin well control operation. On Apr. 7, a supply plane brought specialist equipment from Houston to Scotland.

Transocean Ltd.’s Sedco 714 semi is expected to drill the primary relief well. The semi arrived Apr. 8 at a standby location outside the Elgin exclusion zone. The Sedco 714 awaits completion of site surveys for the final anchor positions.

A jack up owned by Rowan Cos. Inc., the Gorilla V, is suspending drilling operations on the nearby West Franklin field before being repositioned to drill a second Elgin relief well.

Both the Sedco 714 and Gorilla V rigs already were under long-term drilling contracts to Total.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.


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