LONDON, April 19 (UPI) -- The British government announced it gave consent to French energy company Total to drill a relief well at the leaking Elgin platform in the North Sea.
A natural gas leak was discovered at the Elgin platform at the end of March about 150 miles off the coast of Scotland. Natural gas is leaking at a rate of around 7 million cubic feet per day from the platform.
The British Department of Energy and Climate change said it approved of Total's plans to drill a relief well at the site.
The DECC said it should take around 180 days to drill the well. Total is working on a dynamic kill operation that uses heavy mud to block the well. The relief well, the DECC, will be used should the dynamic kill operation fail.
The Scottish government said it discovered traces of oil in its water samples taken from the region but said it was likely caused by industrial activity in the region and not the Elgin gas leak.
Total said that, because the Elgin platform is so far offshore, the natural gas cloud can't reach land.