Total says gas leak to cost up to $400 mn

11th May 2012, Comments 0 comments

A gas leak under one of its North Sea platforms will cost the French energy giant Total between $300 and $400 million in lost production and repair costs, the head of the group said Friday.

The Elgin platform, situated off Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland, was evacuated in March after gas began leaking from the seabed and formed a huge potentially inflammable cloud around the well head.

Most of the cost would come from lost profits associated with suspension of the Elgin field, but stopping the leak will add to the expense, Christophe de Margerie told shareholders in Paris.

He reiterated the group hoped to resume operations at the Elgin-Franklin site before the year's end and added that environmental studies had detected "no damage to the environment" except for greenhouse gas emissions.

De Margerie said the operation to plug the faulty wells would begin when weather allows, perhaps in a matter of days, as a drill ship is already in place and ready to inject heavy mud into the leaking Elgin well.

Shareholders also approved the renewal of de Margerie's term as Total's chief executive for another three years on Friday, with a 80.10 percent vote in favour at the general meeting in Paris.

Total was also forced to shut down one of its plants in southern Nigeria in April after a natural gas leak in the area, another event the group said would hamper its second quarter output.

The oil group said its first-quarter net profit had fallen by seven percent to 3.66 billion euros ($4.73 billion), according to an April statement.

© 2012 AFP

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