North Sea Gas Drilling Rig Leak Reduced by One-Third

Henning Gote/CC BY-SA 2.0

On the second anniversary of the BP oil spill, here's an update on the status of another offshore energy accident: Reuters reports that the relief well started by Total at its Elgin platform in the North Sea has reduced the methane leaking from it by one-third.

It's been a bit of an under-reported story in the mainstream media, so for those that missed it the first time, the well has been leaking since March 25th, and a two-mile exclusion zone around it has been set up. For a while there was concern that the leaking natural gas could explode, or cause damage to marine ecosystem surrounding the well, but for now it appears that contamination is minimal.

The bad news in all of it remains that it could take six months for the relief well to be completed. Until then some amount of methane will continue leaking. Though the rate of leak is such that it's not a huge climate risk, remember than methane is far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it is much shorter lived in the atmosphere.

Note: The rig in the photo above is not the leaking rig, but it is a nice shot of a rig in the North Sea.

Tags: Natural Gas

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