Responding to claims from TOTAL and the Scottish Government that there has been minimal environmental damage caused by the gas leak from the stricken Elgin Platform so far, Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“While TOTAL and the Scottish Government claim that the environmental impact of the gas leak from the Elgin Platform has been minimal so far, proper chemical testing of environmental samples taken near the platform is still ongoing so it is completely premature to underplay the potential damage and problems that may have been caused. The real effects of the gas leak may be cumulative and long-term and will not known for some time.

“Just because a panel of ‘fish tasters’ couldn’t taste any hydrocarbons in some fish caught near the Elgin Platform doesn’t necessarily mean that hidden and longer-term environmental damage is not being caused to the waters, seabed and wildlife in the area. Furthermore, it completely ignores the negative impact that the release of massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere is having. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and this leak is undoubtedly contributing to pollution of the atmosphere and climate change.

“TOTAL is struggling to contain the gas pouring from the Elgin Platform, which is in relatively shallow and manageable waters, yet Shell will soon start drilling for oil in more remote, deeper and more extreme Arctic waters and the company is claiming that it has the technology to deal with any potential problem. We seriously doubt that this is actually the case. The gas leak on the Elgin Platform is yet further evidence that we should be weaning ourselves off hydrocarbons and moving more quickly to a future in which we source our energy from a wide range of safe, clean and renewable sources instead – not moving our drilling rigs into deeper and dangerous waters where there is scope for catastrophe.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. Scottish Government press release: http://foe-scotland.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=b5ad0d61b2a67d22c…