LAGOS (AFP) - French energy firm Total said it hoped to stop within a few days a natural gas leak that has led to a shutdown of one of its plants in southern Nigeria.
The company said in a statement late Saturday its "teams have reported significant progress in the efforts to ensure that the incident is brought under control and to stop the subsurface gas flow from the affected well."
"The snubbing intervention started on May 9 and if successful could stop the gas flow in the next few days," it said, explaining that the operation consists of introducing small pipes into the well to pump heavy fluid to stop the flow.
Total said the leak occurred during the drilling of a new well in Rivers state, forcing it to shut down the Obite gas plant on April 3.
The French company said its team had been performing an analysis of air and water quality several times a week.
"No hydrocarbons or toxic compounds have been detected. As a precaution, two private water wells near the resurgences area have been secured," it added.
Total is among major oil operators in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer and the west African country is estimated to have the world's eight-largest gas reserves.