Total to drill relief well in Nigeria to stop gas leak

21 April 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – French oil giant, Total, says it will drill a relief well in southern Nigeria as it seeks to stop a natural gas leak that has led to a shut down of one of its plants, the company said Friday.

“Operations are being actively prepared on the affected well to stop the gas flow quickly and permanently,” Total said in a statement. “A drilling rig is being brought in to drill a relief well and a second rig has been ordered.”

Relief wells can be used to relieve pressure on a leaking well and bring it under control.

The leak occurred after an incident on March 20 during the drilling of a new well in Rivers state, the company said.

According to Total, an existing well was “intersected” during drilling operations, which led to the leak.

It was alerted to the leak on April 3 and shut down the Obite gas plant. The company said a safety perimeter was being enforced around the leak.

Daily analyses of water wells and air quality were being conducted, it said.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and is estimated to have the world’s eight-largest gas reserves.

Its oil-and-gas producing region, the Niger Delta, is badly polluted from decades of spills.

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