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North Sea leak 'worrying development'

image copyrightTotal
image captionTotal said the well being drilled from Elgin B was under control

Environment campaigners have said "serious questions need to be asked" about a leak in a gas well in the North Sea.

Oil company Total is tackling the leak which is below the seabed in a well being drilled from the Elgin B platform.

The company said there had been an "unexpected flow" about 4km below the seabed.

WWF Scotland said oil companies need to protect staff and the environment.

Director Lang Banks said: "This is a worrying development, as this is the not the first time Total has had problems at its Elgin-Frankin field.

"Only a few years ago, a leak on its platform complex led to an emergency evacuation and a halt to production for almost a year.

"Protecting staff and the marine environment should always be priority number one for the oil and gas industry. Given the previous problems at this site, serious questions need to be asked by the relevant authorities as to what is going on."

Total said the incident was "under full control at the surface" and that it was under "continuous review".

A company spokesman said part of the well may need to be plugged and abandoned.

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