"Oil & Gas Industry Fears More Deep-Sea Leaks Linked To Drill Fluid"

"LONDON/PARIS -- A corrosive drilling fluid that triggered the North Sea's worst gas leak in 20 years could threaten similar deep-sea wells across the world, and operator Total has already warned Shell that its nearby Shearwater field may be at risk."

"The corrosive fluids implicated in the leak at Total's Elgin field, such as calcium bromide, are commonly used in such deep-sea wells, and experts fear a recurrence as operators, under pressure to offset declining output from conventional reservoirs, turn to deeper, hotter and higher pressure fields.

'Bromide brines have been used in thousands of wells since their introduction in the 1980's,' John Downs, a chemical engineer who runs his own consultancy group, told Reuters. 'An extensive well repair program may be needed if the stress corrosion cracking caused by bromide brine in Elgin is also happening elsewhere.'"

Stephen Eisenhammer, Oleg Vukmanovic, and Muriel Boselli report for Reuters September 5, 2013.

Source: Reuters, 09/06/2013