A well kill operation has been approved on the leaking Elgin gas platform in the UK North Sea.

Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has now approved a plan by operator Total to try and stop the leak.

Total has been given a green light to try pumping heavy drilling mud into the G4 wellbore on the Elgin wellhead platform in a bid to try and halt the continuing escape of gas, which has been flowing since 25 March.

“DECC has carried out full environmental assessment of the operation and the Health and Safety Executive has confirmed it has no objections to this intended activity,” the UK government department declared.

Semi-submersible rig West Phoenix will be used for the well kill operation, acting as a pumping vessel to force mud down into the wellbore.

““The Government and Total  have been working hard to ensure the Elgin gas release is dealt with as quickly and as safely as possible with minimal impact on the environment,” DECC said in a statement, although the government department has not yet ruled out the need for drilling a relief well.

“The dynamic kill operation is a major step for Total, and offers the quickest way to stop the release from the well. In parallel, work is underway to drill a relief well as an alternative solution. We continue to monitor the situation closely,” the DECC statement added.