“Environmentalists say the incidents highlight the dangers of allowing more offshore drilling, especially in new frontier areas the Arctic and Barents seas.”
Another offshore energy accident is again fueling questions about the industry’s safety and ability to prevent a major environmental disaster.
French oil and gas giant Total SA reported late yesterday that it was still struggling to bring under control a natural gas leak at a platform in the United Kingdom’s portion of the North Sea. The leak is occurring at the offshore Elgin field, about 150 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Natural gas began spewing from beneath the surface after Total performed work on a well at the site, the company said. The French oil and gas giant also says that a “sheen” of associated liquids and drilling mud is also visible at the accident site, but that the volumes are so low that it sees no need to dispatch oil dispersant.
The company says it is monitoring the situation by aircraft; 238 crew members had to be evacuated from the site.
Total also scrambled yesterday to dispel fears that the entire operation could explode. The erupting gas is located next to a large safety flare currently burning off excess gas from the system…