Mechanical Failure WY Blowout Cause

Monday, May 14, 2012 @ 07:05 PM gHale

Mechanical failure is the cause of a natural gas well blowout in eastern Wyoming last month, state oil and gas regulators said.

An investigation by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (OGCC) also found workers at the rig failed to properly engage part of the wellhead apparatus.

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Chesapeake’s “delay in observation of and response to a gain in drilling mud in the pits during the running of the production casing prior to the incident,” was a contributing factor in the eventual loss of control at the well, according to a OGCC report.

It said “improper engagement of wellhead lockdown pins” also contributed to the blowout, which was eventually triggered by a mechanical failure at the surface of the well.

Chesapeake lost control of the well late on April 24 while installing a well casing, leaking natural gas and drilling mud. A cloud of gas could be seen a mile from the well, emergency service officials said at the time.

Workers stemmed the leak about three days later.

The OGCC said less than 2 million cubic feet of natural gas leaked during the 66-hour incident. The well vented 2 million cubic feet of gas and up to 31,500 gallons of oil-based drilling “mud,” officials said.

The Oil and Gas Commission report said the integrity of the well itself did not suffer compromise and the wellhead parts involved are under examination.

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