Total's North Sea leak drawing comparisons with BP spill

Total's North Sea leak drawing comparisons with BP spill




Oil giant Total has moved to reassure investors and environmental activists over the past week that the financial and environmental damage from its gas leak in the North Sea would be limited, a task made more difficult by emerging comparisons to BP's handling of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The Houston Chronicle reports initial data showed that the leak from Total's platform in the Elgin gas field 150 miles off the coast of Scotland—which was first detected March 25—was pouring out about 7 million cubic feet of natural gas each day. On Friday, however, the company reported the rate of the leak appeared to have slowed, but it provided no new figure. In a conference call to analysts and reporters, Total Chief Financial Officer Patrick de La Chevardiere last week appealed to those listening to avoid comparisons between the Elgin leak and the gulf spill at BP's Macondo well. But the Elgin leak is on a smaller scale, according to George Hirasaki, a chemical engineering professor at Rice University, who has worked in the oil industry. "It's more of a very dangerous situation rather than a disaster, so they may be able to get it back under control with minimal losses," he says. Check out the full story here.



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