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Page added on March 28, 2012

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Oil rig leaks, causing explosive natural gas cloud above North Sea

Oil rig leaks, causing explosive natural gas cloud above North Sea thumbnail

The clean-up process may last for months.

Total, France’s largest oil company, is following in the footsteps of BP with its own gas leak, although experts say this more recent environmental disaster isn’t nearly as damaging.

Today Total announced that explosive natural gas is leaking from its Elgin North Sea platform. The leak is occurring less than 100 meters away from a gas flare, which workers left burning as they evacuated the rig, Reuters reported today [6].

A flame above the company’s Elgin North Sea Platform began burning three days ago, BBC News reported [7]. The flame is the result of a gas leak. A cloud of escaped natural gas has since “bubbled up through the sea,” the BBC said.

Total told Reuters on Tuesday [9] that cleaning up the mess could last six months. Capping the well will be difficult because the gas is toxic for people who get too close to it. It could also threaten fish and marine life.

“This is the well from hell,”  Frederic Hauge, head of a Norwegian organization that watches the oil industry, told the Daily Mail [10]. “This problem is out of control and is only going to get bigger and bigger.”

Despite the explosive gas cloud that is forming, Total said that risk of an actual explosion is minimal.

Others disagree.

“The platform could become an explosion waiting to happen,” an industry consultant told Reuters today


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5 Comments on "Oil rig leaks, causing explosive natural gas cloud above North Sea"

  1. DC on Wed, 28th Mar 2012 9:53 pm 

    I think this will be what the 21st is remebered for. Pictures of burning oil rigs and smoldering nuclear power stations will how well be remembered, if there anyone left to remeber us that is.

  2. BillT on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 1:53 am 

    DC, you are probably correct. If you read science fiction, Frank Herbert has a planet in his Dune series called Giedi Prime that was so ruined by industry and pollution that everyone had diseases and the planet was black with carbon dust. I think we are trying to combine that with George Orwell’s “1984”.

  3. DC on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 5:56 am 

    Actually Dune has an interesting setting that always fasicnated me. Although I dont know it was FH intention, in some ways he was one of the few SF writes to really flesh out what a post-peak oil, low impact civiliaztion would look like. In the Dune backstory, prior to the imperium, all worlds were built around a high-tech, air-conditioned, computer managed quasi-post scarcity idea. Though its never stated, this high-tech pampered life-style was probably pretty resource and energy hungry. Then along comes the Butlerian Jihad, and all that goes away, and what we would refer to a basically low-tech manual labor ,though still space-fareing civilization(at the top) which outlaws most all labor-saving devices emerges, by design. GP was an anomoly even in the Imperium, I think it was not only meant to respresnt how evil the Harkonnen were, but It was probably also meant to represent the worst excess of our world, taken to its logical conclusion.

  4. Arthur on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 8:25 am 

    And still no government even is thinking of forbidding producing gas guzzling cars. The denial is still almost total. Where is the politician who grabs a microphone and honoustly tells us that the party is over and that we should use what is left of the resources to help building amore sustainable life. No cars, no planes, investing in isolation, and maybe parttime local socialism on the community level in the area of food production with direct returns for the ‘socialists’.

  5. BillT on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 11:14 am 

    Arthur, stupid as most of our leaders are, all of them know what happens to the bearer of bad news. Look at Carter. He tried and was made to look like a fool. Anyone trying to take American’s cars away would be killed before he/she got home. We will be disciplined by the one thing we cannot touch, Mother Nature and she is not gentle.

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