Shortly after midday on Sunday 25 March 2012 a major gas release occurred on the Total E&P UK Ltd (Total) Elgin offshore wellhead platform, from well G4. Personnel on the Elgin production platform and the adjacent Rowan Viking jack-up drilling rig were all subsequently evacuated without injury.
On Tuesday 15 May 2012, day 51 of the release, well G4 was successfully ‘killed’ and the gas release stopped with mud pumped via the West Phoenix drilling rig.
HSE and Total are involved in continuing discussions on the necessary preparations for the installation of a permanent barrier in well G4 using the Rowan Viking drilling rig. Along with other regulators, HSE has been in constant dialogue with Total throughout this incident, in light of Total’s statutory responsibility to satisfactorily manage the risks to their staff and contractors involved in bringing the release under control.
HSE’s investigation into the gas release continues. Inspectors made their first visit to the Elgin complex and the Rowan Viking drilling rig on 4 June 2012 and a second visit on 19 June 2012. As part of the investigation, Inspectors have been taking statements and acquiring computer and documentary evidence both onshore and offshore.