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Total slowly restarts production at North Sea fields shut after gas leak

French energy group Total says it is slowly restarting gas production in an area of the North Sea where a well sprang a leak nearly a year ago.

A leak at the Elgin field was initially pouring out about 7 million cubic feet (200,000 cubic meters) into the atmosphere each day. Production at nearby fields was also halted.

The company says Monday that production restarted over the weekend and would soon ramp up to 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day — about half of the potential of the Elgin and surrounding fields.

Total says it restarted production after getting the all-clear from Britain's Health and Safety Executive. It said an investigation showed that corrosion caused gas to seep into the well, which was not in use at the time.