Total says safety is key to profitability

April 30, 2012 at 9:37 AM

PARIS, April 30 (UPI) -- The natural gas leak off the coast of Scotland shows French energy company Total must commit fully to offshore safety, the company's top executive said.

Total reported a $4.05 billion adjusted gross income for the first quarter of 2012, a 5 percent decline from the same period last year.

The company had expected modest growth given improvements in the global economy, though it listed the Elgin gas leak among its major events since the beginning of the year.

Total in March discovered a natural gas leak at its Elgin platform about 150 miles off the coast of Aberdeen. Natural gas is leaking from above the water's surface at a rate of around 2.1 million cubic feet per day.

Total Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said his company couldn't expect a profit without a corresponding commitment to safety.

"We cannot envisage profitable growth without prioritizing safety and operational reliability," he said in a statement. "The entire company recognizes that the complexity of our operations requires an even stronger commitment to safety and environmental protection."

Engineers last week were able to set equipment at the Elgin platform meant for a well intervention to stop the leak.

No natural gas is leaking directly into the water. British and Scottish authorities had said there was no major environmental damage from the leak.

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