Chesapeake delay contributed to well blowout

Reuters News
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Posted: May 10, 2012 3:40 PM
Chesapeake delay contributed to well blowout

(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy's delayed response to warning signs at a natural gas well contributed to a blowout in Wyoming in April, which led to a leak and the evacuation of dozens of nearby residents, state regulators said on Thursday.

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 Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission report.

It said that "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 that less than 2 million cubic feet of natural gas was leaked during the 66-hour incident.

(Reporting By Edward McAllister and Selam Gebrekidan. Editing by Bernadette Baum)