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Home ENERGY Safety fears over Total’s North Sea Elgin gas leak

Renewed safety concerns have been raised about an oil and gas field which was shut down last year due to a leak.

A report from Reuters news agency claims the operator of the Elgin field has identified concerns about the corrosive effect of chemicals on pipes.

The article makes a further claim that Total plans to close down several wells in the Elgin field over the safety concerns.

John Downs, a chemical engineer and consultant, is quoted in the Reuters report as saying: “Bromide brines have been used in thousands of wells since their introduction in the 1980s.

“An extensive well repair programme may be needed if the stress corrosion cracking caused by bromide brine in Elgin is also happening elsewhere.”

Total UK chairman Patrice de Vivies told Reuters he had co-operated particularly closely with Royal Dutch/Shell when sharing information on the causes of the leak.

He said: “We are confident in the safety of our well designs and operations.

“With Shell we have shared even more as they have a neighbouring field, Shearwater, meaning they potentially have, perhaps, not identical, but similar problems.”

A Total spokesman told BBC Scotland: “This is an old story based on information that was made publicly available at the time we resumed production on Elgin in March this year – that based on new well integrity criteria we introduced following learnings from the G4 incident, we were not going to restart all the Elgin/Franklin wells that had previously been producing.

“At the same time, we outlined what we believed to be the cause(s) of the G4 incident and also said on numerous occasions that we were sharing lessons learned with the rest of the industry.”

A Shell spokesperson said: “Shell is redeveloping the Fulmar reservoir from the Shearwater platform in line with UK regulatory requirements.

“We participate actively in industry knowledge-sharing, and are confident in the safety of our well designs and operations.”

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