Total diverts gas cloud away from stricken North Sea rig
French energy giant Total said Thursday it had succeeded in diverting gas that is leaking from a platform in the North Sea so that it no longer gathers in a cloud around the wellhead.
A device known as a diverter had been installed and "is now carrying the flow of leaking gas, via four flexible hoses, away from the wellhead and the platform," Total said in a statement.
"This reinforces the safety of the well intervention operation and helps alleviate restrictions on helicopter landings on the platform from now on," it added.
The stricken Elgin platform, 150 miles (240 kilometres) off Aberdeen on Scotland's east coast, has been spewing a cloud of gas since March 25. All 238 crew on the rig were evacuated when the leak began.
Total is seeking to stop the leak with a two-pronged operation involving the drilling of two relief wells plus an effort to pump "heavy mud" into the well.
The floating rig to be used for the drilling operation, the West Phoenix, remains at the edge of an exclusion zone of two nautical miles around the platform.
(c) 2012 AFP