Total pushes back production restart for Elgin-Franklin natural gas field
French oil and gas company Total has conceded that production at its Elgin and Franklin natural gas fields may not resume until the "early months" of this year.
The company previously slated a resumption of flows from the North Sea gas fields for the end of last year, while admitting that the restart date was far from certain (see ESGM 12 November 2012).
The Elgin-Franklin fields - which have a peak gas production of 15.5 million cubic metres (Mm³)/day - were shut down last May, owing to a gas leak which started on 25 March.
A Total spokesman said that it was difficult to be definitive about when production would resume, with traders monitoring the situation closely.
Total submitted a revised safety case to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is reviewing the submission. At the same time, Total is also working to fully secure some Elgin and Franklin wells while finishing off some cleaning on Elgin's PUQ (processes, utilities and quarters) platform.
"Timescales for resumption are largely determined by the HSE reviewing and, hopefully, accepting our revisions," the spokesman said. "This reinforces our most recent public comments that a restart is most likely in the early months of 2013."
Late last year, NBP traders underscored the value of the fields to the British supply complex, particularly in light of difficulties at Theddlethorpe and intermittent glitches in Norwegian flows.
"If Elgin-Franklin was back in full swing it would bring about another 15Mm³/day into the system. That would lessen the drain on storage facilities and make the whole picture a lot less tight," a trader told ICIS.
The fields are located about 240 kilometres east of Aberdeen in Scotland and feed gas through the SEAL pipeline to Bacton. JE
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