Total Prepares to Drill Relief Wells in North Sea (TOT)

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France’s Total SA (NYSE: TOT) is moving two rigs into position to begin drilling relief wells to staunch the flow of natural gas from one of its wells in the North Sea’s Elgin field. If the company can extinguish the flare burning from its platform, it might try get equipment into position to inject heavy mud into the well in an effort to stop the gas flow without the relief wells.

The company’s managing director for UK E&P operations made this statement at a press conference earlier today:

With respect to stopping the leak, we have launched two main actions which we are progressing in parallel. The first is to carry out the well kill operations using a floating support; the second is to drill two relief wells and, to that end, we have suspended operations on two of our drilling rigs in order to make them available for work on the relief wells. We have notably mobilized a strong team of internal and external experts and a number of specialized support vessels.

The gas leak is putting out about 7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day according to a Total estimate.

Paul Ausick

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