Total's Leaking Gas Rig: Signs of Trouble
Signs of trouble appear where a natural gas leak that began five days ago remains unchanged at Total's Elgin platform off Scotland's east cost. A two-mile exclusion zone has been set up in addition to the evacuation of 238 workers for safety reasons.
After irregular pressure on the plug on the well was observed in February, the company responded within days to regulate the well.
"On March 25 we observed a sudden pressure increase followed by an escape of mud and gas,” Total's UK Managing Director Philippe Guys told a news conference in Aberdeen.
Some possible approaches could include drilling a relief well or using heavy mud to block the well. Though the use of mud is much more dangerous, drilling a relief well would take about six months and would require precise boring measures. The company has yet to announce a decision on how it will attack the problem. Letting the leak run itself dry would take six months and cost a few billion dollars.
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Total is also still deciding on how to extinguish a fire near the gas leak, which some fear is an explosion waiting to happen. The company has assured the government, however, that the flare is positioned so the prevailing wind will blow the gas release away from the platform.
Whether or not the rig will be shutdown permanently will depend on the outcome of the incident and identifying improvements in safety, according to the UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.