Since the leak was announced, Total’s share price has dropped from more than £34 to a low of £30.87 on Thursday before strengthening to £31.68.
Shares over the week have, therefore, fallen 7.2% – wiping some £5.42billion off Total’s market capitalisation (the company’s value).
The Paris-listed firm yesterday noted that “no abnormal behaviour was observed” in the well and, with efforts already under way to drill a relief well, shares are currently trading up around 14p (on Thursday’s closing price).
While clearly still of serious concern, analysts note the leak does not appear to be as serious as the one which caused BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, the world’s worst marine oil spill.
The Elgin fields produce around 60,000 barrels per day and analysts value Total’s 46% share at £2.75billion.
Expectation is that the field will shut for the remainder of 2012, which is likely to limit Total’s production growth target of around 3%.
The Total outage comes at a time when the North Sea oil supply and demand situation is already tight due to buying pressure from South Korea.
A recent free trade deal between the European Union and South Korea means that Korean refiners save a 3% crude import duty from the region, prompting buying from the country.
David Barclay is a divisional director for investment manager and financial-planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen.