Total SA shares fall as gas leak continues

Leak ongoing.

Shares of Total SA were under water after the French energy giant confirmed a leak at its Elgin field in the North Sea remains ongoing. “We continue to take all possible measures to try to identify the source and cause of the leak and to bring it under control,” the company said in a statement.

Total also noted about 170 barrels of oil on the water and said it evacuated 238 people from the area with no injuries. Total management was reported to be weighing the possibility of drilling a relief well to kill the leak — a process that could take six months.

Total owns ~36% of the Elgin project, followed by a 22% stake for Italian oil major ENI (E), 14% by BG Group and smaller stakes held by Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Sumitomo and others.

Total said production at its Elgin, Franklin and West Franklin fields has been shut in. Total's health, safety and environment manager, David Hainsworth, said that drilling a relief well was one option for stopping the leak, another would be to pour heavy mud into the well. While one more would be let the well run out of gas. "The best-case scenario is that the gas in this area is not very productive and it dies off in the coming days and weeks," Hainsworth stated.

Total SA (TOT : NYSE : US$50.90), Net Change: -3.89, % Change: -7.10%, Volume: 26,946,633

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Canaccord Genuity Inc. is a global investment banking and institutional brokerage firm. Their website is www.canaccordgenuity.com.

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