French energy giant Total said it plans to plug the gas leak from the abandoned Elgin platform off Aberdeen, on Scotland’s east coast, by the end of this month.
The company is planning to pump heavy mud into the leaking G4 well to cut off the gas, which has been spewing since 25 March, and drill two relief wells.
Officials have previously warned that it could take up to six months to stop the leak, which forced 238 workers to abandon the platform, but Total’s UK managing director Philippe Guys told the Aberdeen Press and Journal that a successful ‘dynamic kill’ operation could stop the dangerous gas cloud from seeping before the start of May.
"If all goes as planned, we envisage by the end of the month we should be having control of the well," Guys said.
US-based firm Wild Well Control has been hired to assist in the clean-up operation, which is costing the French company $2.5m a day.
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Meanwhile Scotland Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that initial tests on more than 200 fish samples near the Total platform found no evidence of being tainted by hydrocarbons.
The Scottish Government began its assessment of the environmental impact of the leak earlier this week.
Image: View of the Elgin Well Head Platform on April 5, 2012. Photo: courtesy of Total E&P UK Ltd.