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Gun used to relight flare on North Sea oil platform

Oil giant Total said it is working with the authorities following the incident on the Elgin platform

Oil:  A modified gun that fires magnesium cartridges was used.
Oil: A modified gun that fires magnesium cartridges was used. PA

Police have launched an investigation after a gun was used to relight the flare on a North Sea platform.

Oil giant Total said it is working with authorities to clarify a "firearms licencing matter" following the incident on the Elgin platform on Boxing Day.

The platform was shut down during repairs to the Forties Pipeline in December.

As part of the restart process Total relit the flare on December 26, however due to a fault with the automated system for lighting the flare a modified gun that fires magnesium cartridges was used.

An investigation is now under way to establish whether the person who fired the gun had a firearms licence.

Total said no-one was at risk as all personnel were inside the platform and all work had been suspended.

Police Scotland said officers are investigating the incident.

Chief Inspector Audrey Marsh said: "I can confirm that Police Scotland has received a report highlighting concerns about the use of licensed firearms on the Elgin oil platform.

"An enquiry has commenced with the oil company Total and key partner agencies to establish the full circumstances."

'Due to a fault with the automated system for lighting the flare we used a modified gun that fires magnesium cartridges, which is the backup procedure for offshore platforms.'
Total spokesman

The Elgin platform is located 240 kilometers (149 miles) east of Aberdeen.

A Total spokesman said: "Following the repair to the Forties Pipeline System, Total relit the flare on the Elgin platform as part of the platform's restart process.

"Due to a fault with the automated system for lighting the flare we used a modified gun that fires magnesium cartridges, which is the backup procedure for offshore platforms.

"The operation was carried out safely.

"We are working with the authorities to clarify a firearms licencing matter.

"Nobody was at risk during this operation.

"All personnel were inside the platform and all work had been suspended.

"Safety is a core value for Total and we are committed to ensuring safe operations on all our worksites."

The Forties Pipeline, which carries 40% of North Sea oil and gas, reopened at the end of December after a crack in the pipe was repaired.

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