PARIS/LONDON - Total said it was looking at ways to extinguish a flare left burning less than 100 meters from where explosive natural gas was leaking from the French energy company's Elgin North Sea platform for a fifth day.
Total dismissed the risk of a blast at the platform, 240 km off the east coast of Scotland, and the British government said the flame had to remain burning to prevent excess gas pressure from building up.
But one energy industry consultant said Elgin could become "an explosion waiting to happen" if the oil major did not rapidly stop the leak which is above the water at the wellhead.
Total's share price dropped about 7 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday, though some analysts said the leak did not appear to be as serious as the oil leak that caused BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, the world's worst marine oil spill.
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