I wonder if anyone has the information, and …

Comment posted Continuing gas leak at Elgin platform as deepwater drilling starts west of Shetland by Robert Wakeham.

I wonder if anyone has the information, and expertise, to hazard a guess at the amount of atmospheric damage being caused by this H2S etc. gas leak compared to the amount of atmospheric damage being avoided by the contribution of Scotland’s green energy sector?

Recent comments by Robert Wakeham

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    A lot of people would doubtless think ‘what real harm is one wind farm in such an enormous landscape?’
    The wind farms in Argyll are mostly widely scattered and generally not ‘in your face’ except for a few unlucky people living in relatively remote places – nothing like the massed ranks of turbines lording it over each side of the M74 around Beattock.
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10 Responses to I wonder if anyone has the information, and …

  1. I wonder if anyone has the information, and expertise, to hazard a guess at the amount of atmospheric damage being caused by this H2S etc. gas leak compared to the amount of atmospheric damage being avoided by the contribution of Scotland’s green energy sector?

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    • Have just read that H2S is removed from natural gas during the extraction process by being passed through a container of hydrated iron(III) oxide.

      Its appearance on the surface at the Elgin platform would appear to confirm a breach in the pipework bypassing passage through the hydrated iron oxide.

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  2. Nope – sorry Newsroom. The H2S is removed by mixing the gas with amine, a liquid chemical, in this case MDEA, and then that sweetens the gas to the required standard. The H2S laden amine then is boiled and this releases the H2S into the flare system, where it is burnt.

    My guess is that the H2S is coming from a well whose casing has failed. These very deep high temperature and high pressure wells were problemmatic in the old days and I believe that well casing failures were common before the oil companies worked out out how to do it. I imagine that the well can be killed by pumping heavy brine down the well and that they are just waiting for the necessary equipment to get out there. Total are just ensuring that they dont get caught out like BP did and are being cautious.

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    • For Dorrey: Your analysis of the failure of the casing of a well is looking very likely, from what we are hearing from industry insiders in Aberdeen on the circumstances in which the leak took place – as a spent well was closed.

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  3. This from Jake Molloy of the RMT via Reuters:

    People seven miles away can see a gas cloud coming from the Total rig,” said Jake Molloy, the head of the section of the UK union that represents offshore oil and gas workers.

    “The well in question had caused Total some problems for some considerable time … a decision was taken weeks ago to try to kill the well, but then an incident began to develop over the weekend,” he said.

    “Engineers have told me that it is almost certain that gas is leaking directly from the reservoir through the pipe casing,” he said.

    My favourite quote so far is from Total, who said the situation was ‘stable’ – which seems an unusual way to describe an ongoing uncontrolled discharge of highly explosive and poisonous gas . . .

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  4. As usual a lot of so called “experts” out there who have never seen a rig let alone a H2s gas leak, why not just let Total get on with it and wait for them to give a clear picture when they know more. This rig and platform is nothing like the the Macondo well drilled by Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico and any comparisons to it are purely speculation by people who are only guessing.

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  5. @ Geoffh

    Why so scathing of the contributors? Newsroom might not be able to tell a rig floor from a Pizza Hut, but don’t tar everyone with the same brush.

    I have worked on dozens of rigs, jack-ups, semis, platforms, in the N. Sea and elsewhere – including ones where there was an H2S risk. Dorrey also sounds as though he might know a bit what he is talking about. The quote by Jake Molloy was made after he spoke to men who had just flown in from the rig, so I expect some of them knew what was going on. My son is on another Rowan rig not so far away right now.

    There are other regulars on here who have rig experience who may be along later. I don’t think anyone said this was the same type of disaster as the Deepwater Horizon, but it is inevitable that parallels will be drawn.
    It appears that Total had been having trouble with this well for some time. They have now lost control of it. Your faith in them giving us a ‘clear picture’ is touching but may, I fear, be misplaced. They are likely to be just as concerned with minimising the PR damage as they are with regaining control of the well – whcih is not looking like an easy job at the moment.

    Latest news is that a flare has been left burning on the now deserted platform – which seems quite incredible.

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    • And why so gratuitously offensive about our honest work to research and report?

      We have neither seen nor said that the Elgin platform situation is similar to that of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

      We correctly described this well as deeply drilled – 3 miles below the sea floor – rather than in deep water.

      The point is that gas extracted from these depths is more intensely poisonous because of its proportion of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

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  6. Some intelligent reporting and contributors on Newsnicht. There seems to be a general incredulity that the flare on the platform was left burning. With a complete exclusion zone by air and sea it is hard to see how the situation is going to be easily resolved.

    Newsnight’s reporter in Aberdeen rather tellingly said that Total had not been particularly forthcoming and that most of the information had come from other sources.

    Re. comparisons with DWH – the ‘expert’ talking head made the very valid point that we have had all the easy oil and are now operating at the frontiers of our technology.

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