With the matter of gas prices so in the spotlight, the North Sea gas leak issue is causing a lot of controversy as authorities still haven’t managed to contain it. The North Sea gas leak remains active since last weekend.
During the weekend, a platform in the North Sea operated by the French company Total S.A. has noticed it was leaking highly pressurized gas. Almost a week later, the gas continues to leak, as activists begin to worry about major damage down the line. The overall concern is that the pocket of gas might explode causing human victims and an ecosystem wound.
Total S.A. announced that the cause of gas leak is to be found thousands of meters below the sea bed and the only solution to stop the leak would take several months. Since Monday, the 238 staff members on the platform were evacuated.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Total S.A., said: “The leak is from a well that was plugged one year ago and from a rock formation in about 4,000 meters depth”. The company even sent in fire-fighting ships in the eventuality the gas pocket would blow up. These are positioned two miles outside the exclusion zone which was set to keep marine traffic protected from the gas leak.
Jacques- Emmanuel Saulnier is head of Total’s communication division. He explained that the flare used to relieve pressure in the platform might cause an explosion, if the wind and weather change. “The wind is pushing the gas cloud in the opposite direction. At his time, the circumstances are rather favorable” said Saulnier, but added that “a gas cloud is always a fire hazard”.
Richard Dixon, WWF Scotland’s director, is worried that the potential explosion is going to cause “catastrophic consequences for the environment, marine life and sea birds in Shetland, the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian coast”.
In fact, as Dixon pointed out, even the gas leak in the atmosphere has “some environmental impact at the moment”. Plus “there is also oil in that well, and Total need to move before an oil spill becomes part of this leak”.
Charlie Kronick is Greenpeace’s climate adviser for the United Kingdom. He believes that the Total S.A. incident shows that it is time for people to “accept that we are at the end of the oil and gas age”.