No restart date in sight as probe into steam incident at TotalEnergies’ UK gas plant goes on
Following the failure of a heating system section, France’s energy giant TotalEnergies has shut down production at a gas plant on the north coast of the main island of the Shetland Isles that takes in gas from offshore fields on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), which are part of the giant West of Shetland project.
Currently, an investigation is still ongoing into the incident that led to the shutdown of the French player’s onshore Shetland Gas Plant, which was built to process gas from the Laggan–Tormore fields. This plant supplies around 8% of the UK’s TotalEnergies gas consumption, representing enough gas for two million households.
While assuring the public that there have been no fatalities due to the incident, the company said: “Yesterday an element of the heating medium system at Shetland Gas Plant failed, resulting in a release of steam. Personnel were called to muster and everyone has been accounted for. Thankfully everyone is safe and well.
“To help us investigate the situation, we shut down the plant. Production remains shut down whilst we conduct an investigation into the incident. Separately, we are also assessing when it will be safe to restart production. We will not restart production until it is safe to do so.”
According to BBC, a TotalEnergies spokesperson also confirmed that the steam emitting from the plant did not pose a risk, as the substance that came from the heating system was made up “primarily of water and was not a hydrocarbon leak.”
This plant is part of the French oil major’s West of Shetland gas project – with a production capacity of 90,000 barrels per day – which aside from the onshore gas plant encompasses the Laggan-Tormore offshore fields, the more recently developed Edradour and Glenlivet offshore fields, and the appraisal of the Glendronach field following a major gas discovery in 2018.
The producing Greater Laggan Area (GLA) fields – Laggan, Tormore, Edradour, and Glenlivet gas fields – and the undeveloped Glendronach gas field are situated in water depths of approximately 300 m to 625 m and are located up to 125 km northwest of the Shetland Islands. Development approval for the GLA was originally granted in 2010 and the first gas was achieved at the Laggan and Tormore fields in 2016.
The Glenlivet and Edradour fields, which received development approval in 2015 and subsequently came on stream in 2017, consist of three wells tied back to the existing Laggan-Tormore production system, which exports the gas to the onshore Shetland Gas Plant.
The Glendronach field was discovered in 2018 and it is anticipated that the development will utilize existing infrastructure. When the production fluids arrive onshore, the liquids (condensates) are removed and piped to the nearby Sullom Voe oil terminal, while the gas is processed before being piped across the United Kingdom.