March 26, 2012 / 4:15 PM / 7 years ago

Gas cloud encircles Total's Elgin-Franklin platform- union

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - A gas cloud has encircled Total’s leaking Elgin Franklin oil and gas platform in the North Sea following failed attempts to “kill” a problematic production well, an RMT union official said based on eyewitness accounts from workers on nearby rigs.

“People seven miles away can see a gas cloud coming from the Total rig,” said Jake Molloy, the head of the section of the UK union that represents offshore oil and gas workers.

“The well in question had caused Total some problems for some considerable time ... a decision was taken weeks ago to try to kill the well, but then an incident began to develop over the weekend,” he said.

“Engineers have told me that it is almost certain that gas is leaking directly from the reservoir through the pipe casing,” he said.

He said the only way Total can stem the leak is to drill a relief well to ease reservoir pressure and regain access to the rig.

Total declined to comment immediately.

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