(Adds Total statement, environmental impact of leak)
PARIS/LONDON, April 11 A leak at Total's
North Sea Elgin gas platform could be stopped by the
end of April, if everything goes as planned, U.K. managing
director Philippe Guys said in a newspaper interview.
Guys told Scottish daily The Press and Journal that the
French oil major planned to carry out a successful "dynamic
kill" on the leaking G4 well before May.
"We are working hard and if all goes as planned we envisage
by the end of this month we should be having control of the
well," he was quoted as saying.
Total has said the leak is costing it $2.5 million a day so
far, and its stock has dropped by almost 7 percent since it was
reported, knocking billions of euros off the company's value.
Total was not immediately available to comment on the Guys
interview on Wednesday.
In a statement late last night, Total had said it would take
weeks of preparatory work, including several helicopter flights
to transport equipment onto the rig, before a procedure to kill
the well could begin.
Specialist equipment was flown into Aberdeen in Scotland
over the weekend from Houston-based crisis management company
Wild Well Control which is advising Total on how to plug the
Total plans to pump mud into the well to stop the gas leak
after a reconnaissance team found that conditions were safe
enough to allow the operation.
Guys was speaking after another specialist team on Tuesday
flew to the platform to carry out inspections, cleaning work,
and to record the pressure of the gas spewing out of the
An initial environmental impact analysis of the leak
suggests that damage to marine life is minimal.
A taste-test of fish samples collected from close to the
leaking Elgin platform detected no trace of hydrocarbon
contamination, Marine Scotland said on Wednesday.
Full chemical analysis results of water and sediment samples
taken from the edge of a two-mile exclusion zone around Elgin
are expected by the end of the week, the agency said.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris and Oleg Vukmanovic in
London; Editing by Elena Berton and Erica Billingham)