Total stops Nigerian gas leak

May 14, 2012 at 9:45 AM

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 14 (UPI) -- The Nigerian subsidiary of French supermajor Total announced that it successfully plugged a subsurface natural gas leak in Nigeria.

Total said it was notified of a natural gas leak from its Ibewa 16 well in the Niger Delta in early April. Total E&P Nigeria Ltd., the Nigerian subsidiary, said it started a "snubbing" operation snubbing to stop the leak. The process involves the pumping of heavy fluids into the well and cement plugs to isolate the reservoir.

"The snubbing intervention which started on May 9 has been successful and has stopped the subsurface gas flow," the company said in a statement.

No indication was given on the amount of natural gas leaked since early April.

The company said it was taking measures to ensure the environment and nearby communities were safe. A safety perimeter was set up and water and air analyses were being conducted.

Total has been criticized for its environmental record in Nigeria following a legacy of oil spills that the supermajor in part blames on saboteurs.

Production at the gas production was shut down after the April notification of the leak. No restart plans have been given.

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