Total May Have Underestimated Risk at Elgin Site, Monde Says

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Total SA may have underestimated the risks from its Elgin platform in the U.K. North Sea, which has been leaking natural gas for a week, Le Monde reported, citing an unidentified employee and a union representative.

During a meeting held on March 25, before the leak started, Elgin site managers reassured employees concerned about the unusually high pressure levels, a worker onsite that day told Le Monde. Workers had been voicing their concern to managers for a month, Le Monde added, citing Jake Molloy, a regional organizer for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

Total noticed unusual variations in pressure in the well last month and began pumping mud down it March 4, Michel Hourcard, Total’s director of exploration, said yesterday.

“Total waited too long to kill the well,” Molloy told Le Monde.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at