The Next Deepwater Horizon?

What has been learned in light of 2010’s Gulf Oil Spill? Less information is better. That is according to oil giant Total, which is currently going through a crisis similar to the Deep Horizon oil spill, though not on the same scale as that event. Plus, it is not oil that is being gushed into the waters off the coast of Scotland, but natural gas, according to a recent www.boston.com report.

The leak, first detected in March, was expelling 7 million cubic feet of natural gas on a daily basis. That rate has slowed, according to company officials, though no new information on the amount being presently leaked has been released.

In order to avoid comparisons with the BP oil spill, company officials have been quick to respond to questions of the gas leak’s severity. It has assured authorities and the public that there will be little environmental impact resulting from the spill. It was also quick to point out that the cost involved in the leak is much less than the BP oil spill, a fraction of what BP spent. By comparison, the Elgin gas field leak is on a much smaller scale and has been labeled as being a very dangerous situation as opposed to a disaster, with the hopes of getting the leak back under control with minimum of loss.

Greenpeace has sent a boat to the area to take samples and will know more in the coming days. It was noted by the environmental organization that the gas escaping is methane, considered 20 times more dangerous for the environment than carbon dioxide (CO2).

It is unclear as to how quickly the leak can be stopped, as attempts are currently being made to get back on the platform so a team can try and plug the leak using mud pumped into the well. If that effort fails, relief wells are also being prepared to be drilled.

For more information about the Elgin gas field leak, visit: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2012/04/09/totals_north_sea_leak_draws_comparisons_with_bp/?page=1