December 31, 2012

Oil well blowout capped

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

A Newfield Exploration Company oil well, located five miles west of Watford City, that spewed gas and oil, as well as other well fluids, more than 90 feet into the sky has finally been brought under control.
According to Keith Schmidt, of Newfield Oil, at approximately 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, the company experienced an uncontrolled flow of natural gas and liquids during normal completion operations being performed by a workover rig at its Drovdal 150 99 18-19-1H well.
“A workover rig crew lost control of the well as they were trying to bring the well into production,” stated Schmidt.
Before the well was brought under control and plugged on early Sunday morning by a Wild Well Control crew from Houston, Texas, winds had carried a mixture of oil, gas and other fluids more than a mile to the southeast and more than one mile to the west from the site.
“Pressure from the well caused a piece of well tubing to be blown out of the casing and up into the workover rig’s tower,” stated Kris Roberts with the Water Quality Division of the North Dakota Health Dept.
“For the first two hours following the blowout, most of what was blowing out of the well was gas,” stated Roberts. “After that, it was a mixture of oil and other fluids.”
Roberts, who was on site at the blowout scene, stated that the quantity of fluids spewed into the air from the well site has not yet been determined. He also stated that the Health Dept. is working to develop a plan with Newfield Oil to remove the contaminated snow and soil.