Martin Langer / Greenpeace via AP
After a gas leak was discovered, a two-mile exclusion zone has been set up around the offshore platform in the North Sea, about 150 miles from the eastern coast of Scotland.
The French oil company Total believes it has found the source of the gas leak from a North Sea platform, the Elgin, the Guardian reported. A flame continues to burn in the stack above the platform since a leak was discovered on Sunday.
The 238 workers were evacuated Monday from the platform, about 150 miles off the coast of eastern Scotland. The company cut electricity sources to avoid sparks.
The leak was in a rock formation about 2.5 miles beneath the seabed, the Guardian reported. Total said it has sent two firefighting vessels to the scene.
Union leaders urged oil companies to evacuate rigs and platforms within five miles of the Elgin, the Guardian reported.
In a statement posted on the company’s Facebook profile, Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, a spokesman for Total said the situation was stable but that "zero risk does not exist."
“A gas cloud is always a fire hazard," Saulnier said. "As a result, we have made every effort to reduce this risk as much as possible. The British authorities have taken protective measures.”
Environmental groups warned Thursday that the highly pressurized gas that is leaking could trigger an oil spill, the Christian Science Monitor reported. The Monitor noted that the leak occurred the same week that the U.K. oil and gas industry announced it had started a deep-water hunt for resources off the western Scottish coast.
"The industry is trying to squeeze out the very last of the Earth's reserves and companies such as Total, BP and Royal Dutch Shell are pushing themselves into exploration that is extremely difficult, costly and risky," said Charlie Kronick, a senior climate adviser at Greenpeace U.K., according to the Monitor.
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