Encana Corp. continued to work Tuesday afternoon to bring a sour natural gas and condensate well in the Kaybob area in the Duvernay formation under control following a blowout one day before.
On Monday afternoon, a well head on a well licensed for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) "was damaged on a well pad located in a remote and unpopulated area in northern Alberta," Encana spokesman Jay Averill told NGI's Shale Daily. The site is about 18 kilometers (11 miles) west of Fox Creek in the Kaybob North Field region.
The damage "resulted in a well control incident and a release of natural gas and condensate," Averill said.
Encana's first priority "was to ensure the safety of all personnel. We quickly secured the area around the site and confirmed that all staff were safe and accounted for. As a further safety precaution, we established roadblocks in the vicinity to maintain a safe distance from the site of the incident. In parallel, we notified relevant stakeholders, including the Alberta Energy Regulator [AER]. There are no residences in the immediate area."
Air monitoring equipment was put in place "and so far we have not detected sour gas levels that pose any risk to human health," Averill said. "However, we are being very cautious about the potential presence of H2S and will continue to monitor air quality until we regain control over the well."
Emergency responders began arriving on site soon after the incident.
Encana is working to bring the well under control as quickly as possible, Averill said. From "first light" on Tuesday "we continued to assess the well and are evaluating a range of options to safely bring the well under control. All equipment and specialized responders remain on site."
AER said it had sent "specialized crews" to monitor the situation and assist as needed.
Fox Creek has had three earthquakes this year alone, the first in January about 24 miles west of the area that measured 3.8 on the Richter scale. A second, measuring 4.4, happened Jan. 22 about 22 miles west of the town. The third earthquake, measuring 4.4, occurred about 22 miles east of the community on June 13. Reportedly, there has been speculation that the quakes were related to hydraulic fracturing in the area within the Duvernay formation.