Total restarts Elgin-Franklin gas, condensate in UK North Sea

Total SA restarted production of natural gas and condensate on the Elgin-Franklin complex in the UK North Sea following approval by the UK Health and Safety Executive.

Production was stopped in March 2012 when a gas leak was detected on the G4 well in Elgin field. The well had been shut-in already (OGJ Online, Mar. 25, 2012).

Production was being resumed gradually and is expected to soon reach nearly 70,000 boe/d, which would be half of the potential production from the area, Total said.

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.

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.

Total is studying new infield wells on Elgin and Franklin. The West Franklin Phase II development project is under way with start-up scheduled for 2014.

Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of Total Upstream, said, “The causes of the incident are now known and all necessary measures have been taken to enable us to resume production and carry out future exploitation of the fields from the Elgin-Franklin area in the best safety conditions. Lessons learnt have been shared with the UK authorities and will also be shared with the wider industry.”

An investigation led by Total revealed that the leak was caused by a type of stress corrosion unique to the G4 well and was fed from a non-producing chalk layer 1,000 m above the original reservoir.

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