Elaine Maslin, 12th June 2012
More than 120 staff are now back working on oil and gas major Total’s Elgin platform in the North Sea, the operator said last night.
The installation was shut down and evacuated on March 25 this year after gas started spewing out of a well on the platform 150 miles off Aberdeen. The leak was plugged last month.
After months of not being able to keep staff on the installation overnight, first for safety reasons, the facility had 80 people living on it from last Friday after vital systems such as power generators were restarted.
Last night numbers on the platform were up to about 120 and it is expected that will progressively increase as the installation is brought back up to full working order, said a spokesman for Total.
He said work to get the platform back to normal had included cleaning out the kitchens, which had had food left out following an emergency evacuation.
“Various systems have had to be restarted and checked and we will now progressively re-man the PUQ (production, utility and accommodation platform) in the coming days and weeks,” he said.
The platform, when fully manned, can house 138 people. Work is still being done on the nearby Rowan Viking jack-up rig, which can be reached from the platform.
This will be used to pump cement down into the well, currently plugged with heavy mud, to plug it permanently.
Work to drill a relief well using the Sedco 714 semi-submersible rig is still continuing in case the process to cement the well does not work.
The firm said last month the cementing process would take about six weeks and could start “within a month or so” of getting people back on the platform.
The head of Total said last week he expected production from the field to restart before next year.
Company chief executive Christophe de Margerie was confident operations on the installation would resume by the end of this year.