There was a sudden bang, and then the smell of gas

In late May, methane-rich air suddenly poured out of an oil platform far into the North Sea, taking by surprise two employees and oil firm Total. ShippingWatch and EnergyWatch cover the minutes that could have proven fatal.

Photo: Total

Each hanging freely from a rope seven meters below a lower oil platform deck 225 kilometers into the North Sea, two professional climbers are cutting a hole into one of the platform's legs. Suddenly there's a bang that prompts them to cease working and the smell of gas spreads.

That's when the two specialists realize something is wrong.

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