An Alaska North Slope exploratory oil well that experienced “a shallow gas kick” Wednesday morning did not cause any injuries, but workers were evacuated as a precaution. The incident occurred at the Qugruk 2 drill site near Nuiqsut, about 625 miles north of Anchorage.
Repsol E&P USA is the well’s operator; Nabors Drilling is the drilling contractor. Repsol said that at as of 6:30 p.m. local time Wednesday the continuous flow of natural gas from the well had stopped. “The well is producing a moderate flow of water, with small amounts of intermittent natural gas bubbles. The company continues to work to safely secure the well,” Repsol said.
According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the rig’s drillbit hit a natural gas patch about 2,600 feet deep, forcing drilling mud back up the well. About 42,000 gallons of mud was released on the gravel drilling pad and surrounding tundra, the department said.
Repsol evacuated workers as a precaution. A crew from Texas was en route on Thursday to bring the well under control. Once the well is under control a cleanup of the drilling mud is to begin, the state said.
Repsol E&P is a unit of Spain’s Repsol-YPF. The company said last March it would spend more than $760 million on North Slope oil exploration and development.
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