Today the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change said the well kill operation involving pumping heavy mud into the wellbore has succeeded in halting the flow of gas from the G4 well on the Elgin wellhead platform which was first detected back on 25 March prompting an emergency evacuation of the facility.
“This is the first stage in the process to permanently seal the well,” DECC said in a statement today. “Monitoring will now take place over the next few days to assess the complete success of the operation. After that, work can begin to permanently plug and abandon the well.”
Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland said: “This is welcome news from the Elgin platform and good progress. It is important that the work continues to manage and monitor the well over the coming days to ensure the operation to stop the gas leak has been a complete success.”
Operator Total said it took just 12 hours for the operation to stop the leak: “The intervention operation began on May 15 and the leak was stopped 12 hours later.
“During the coming days, the G4 well will continue to be monitored in order to confirm the complete success of the intervention,” the French oil major added.
But Total says a relief well which spudded back on 18 April, will continue to be drilled as a back up option.
After the start of the incident on 25 March, which resulted in a total of 238 people being evacuated from the Elgin facilities, and from the nearby Rowan Viking rig, Total said the flow rate from the leaking wellhead gradually diminished from an estimated two kilogrammes a second down 0.5 kg/sec.