Fish tests from UK gas leak zone show no contamination

LONDON Tue May 1, 2012 12:22pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The ongoing gas leak at Total's Elgin platform in the North Sea has not contaminated fish in the area with hydrocarbons, the Scottish government said on Tuesday, confirming findings made after a fish tasting test in mid-April.

Chemical analysis of fish samples collected by government research group Marine Scotland just outside the two-mile exclusion zone around the Elgin platform found no residues of oil or gas.

"All of the chemical and sensory testing work carried out by Marine Scotland on the effects on the marine environment of the leak has now concluded that there is no direct impact," Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said.

Water, sediment and fish tasting analysis published last month had already indicated that none of the samples contained hydrocarbon contamination.

Total and the Scottish authorities will start taking samples from within the exclusion zone as soon as possible, the government added.

Total said the gas leak had significantly diminished since it started in late March.

The company is in the process of drilling relief wells to redirect the flow of gas and will this week start "well kill" operations by injecting mud into the well to smother the leak.

It said last week it was possible output from the shut down gas platform could resume before the end of the year.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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