A North Sea platform which has been shut down for nearly a year after a gas leak could restart production by the end of next month, it was confirmed yesterday.
Total’s Elgin-Franklin development was shut last March after a gas leak and has not resumed output since.
The leak was plugged in May after spewing up to 7million cubic feet of gas every day, but the French operator said yesterday it was close to restarting operations on the installation 150 miles off Aberdeen.
In its annual results for 2012, Total said the Elgin-Franklin incident had contributed to a 2% fall in total production last year, but added it was working with UK authorities towards a “safe and progressive restart of Elgin-Franklin during the first quarter of 2013”. The company said it expected worldwide production to increase this year, helped by resuming operations on the field.
Total’s production from the platform was 55,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day before the incident, and the firm has previously said the leak would cost £186million-£238million in lost production.
It is estimated the Elgin platform produces 3% of Britain’s gas and is one of the deepest and most highly-pressurised wells in the world. Despite the fall in production, Total recorded an 8% increase in turnover to £128.6billion last year. Operating profits were up 2% to £21.7billion, while net profits were £10.7billion, an 8% rise.
Chairman and chief executive Christophe de Margerie said the environment had “remained favourable” in its upstream business thanks to the oil price averaging above $110 (£70) a barrel.
Total said it would spend £1.8billion on exploration this year, adding its asset sale plans were also on track.
The operator set a target of offloading between £9.6billion-£13billion of assets between 2012 and 2014, and after selling off £3.9billion of interests last year said it would reach its target by the end of 2013.