Potential environmental hazards following the Total gas leak in the North Sea are being highlighted by Greenpeace, who have been testing air and water close to the Elgin rig.
The environmental activist group has sailed to just outside the exclusion zone around the abandoned platform and says it has observed an oily multi-coloured sheen in the water.
However, this has not been tested and Total says the sheen is caused by gas condensate.
“What is mainly released is methane gas. Methane is 20 times more dangerous for the climate than CO2 and that’s the main issue here,” said Greenpeace chemist Manfred Santen.
The company is keen to prevent environmental damage, according to Director of Communications Andrew Hogg, who said: “We are as concerned as they are, and we are doing everything we can to get this leak stopped as quickly as possible and to minimise the impact on the environment, which we already think is relatively minor.”
The leak is causing the French energy giant 1.87 million euros a day.
Rough seas and heavy winds are hampering efforts to stop the leak, which originates 4,000 metres below the seabed.