A North Sea oil platform has been evacuated after the discovery of a gas leak.  The leak was discovered on Sunday on the Elgin PUQ platform about 150 miles (240km) off Aberdeen.  The platform is operated by Total E&P; UK.

According to witnesses, the sea beneath the platform was “boiling” with gas emissions, indicating a sub-sea problem.  There is no evidence of any oil leak into the North Sea, but the platform is being monitored so quick action can be taken in case an oil leak should occur.  The gas cloud surrounding the platform is expected to disperse harmlessly.  

238 workers on the platform were taken by helicopter to Aberdeen.  Most of the workers were evacuated yesterday, leaving just 19 essential maintenance staff on the platform overnight.  However safety concerns led to the evacuation of these workers early on Monday morning.  The platform has been powered down.

Union official Jake Molloy told the BBC: “It appears, from what I have been told thus far, that the stand-by vessel which circles the installation had actually seen gas on the surface of the sea.

“Apparently the sea was seen to be ‘boiling’ with gas below the rig, which suggests a sub-sea problem, rather than a problem on the installation.”

“If it is, as they suspect, gas and a mixture of condensate gases – that is highly inflammable gases – and potentially H2S (hydrogen sulfide), which is a highly-toxic agent that can kill you on the spot, that explains itself that it is very dangerous. A very volatile situation.”

A statement from the company said: “Investigations are continuing to determine the cause of the ongoing gas leak and TEP UK is monitoring the situation closely.

“TEP UK is co-operating fully with all relevant authorities including the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Health and Safety Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.”


2012-03-26 16:03

Heard this on the news this morning when still half asleep and thought a rig had evaporated!
2012-03-26 16:12

Plane sent from Southampton to overfly area
Plane standing by at E.Midlands with dispersent if required
call me dave
2012-03-26 17:15

news reporting Scotland radio ~ 17:40hrs said the reports from workers that had been taken off was that the gas was escaping from the supply side of any control valve.

The ‘collar’or ‘sleeve’ in the drill hole was allowing gas to seep or leak.

A new hole may have to be drilled from somewhere else (another rig) to tap in and so on and etc.

Looks like it might be a long haul!
2012-03-26 18:17

This does not look great. There is not a really serious pollution risk as it’s gas condensate, not oil, but shutting it off could well be a big problem. The H2S does not help matters.
2012-03-26 21:10

This is very serious.
The gas is escaping thru the various casing barriers and will be extremely difficult to shut down. They say there is no enviromental issues, but a huge gas cloud is an enviromental issue.
Dont understand why they send the planes from the south and midlands of England, are there no planes in Aberdeen?

Incidentaly, the Elgin and Franklin fields turn out approx 230,000 barrels of oil every day, and that is just two of the hundres of fields!!!
2012-03-26 23:41

So we’re taking all the chances and they’re just taking the dosh!

Sounds about typical!
2012-03-27 06:21

I don’t think the press realise how serious this one is. I think the next few days could see some serious developments.

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