Repsol closes exploration well after gas blowout

Repsol E&P USA successfully secured and plugged its Qugruk No. 2 exploration well on the North Slope, the company said March 17.

Repsol encountered a shallow gas pocket and experienced a gas blowout at the well on Feb. 15, and although gas stopped flowing Feb. 16 the company has been working to thaw the rig and achieve control of the well since then.

There was no fire and no injuries in the incident. Gas was safely vented through a gas diverter system.

“Crews have set three cement plugs in the wellbore in accordance with state regulatory standards. The cleanup work on the rig and well pad has been underway for several weeks,” Repsol spokesman Jan Sieving said in a statement. “Cleanup efforts for the area just off the well pad have no begun, managed by Alaska Clean Seas, in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.”

Alaska Clean Seas is an industry-sponsored oil spill cleanup cooperative for northern Alaska.

Repsol reported to the DEC that 42,000 gallons, or 1,000 barrels, of water-based drilling fluids were ejected from the wellbore by the gas kick. As of March 17, Repsol had cleaned and removed 91,939 gallons, or 2,189 barrels, of liquids from the site, mostly thawed drilling fluid and water, the state DEC said in a situation report.

In addition, 2,363 cubic yards of solid waste, frozen drilling mud and downhole materials, have been shipped offsite.

Repsol is continuing with a second North Slope exploration well at a location southwest of the producing Kuparuk field, Sieving said in an earlier statement. The company does not plan to resume exploration this winter at the Qugruk No. 2 location, he said.

Updated: 
11/11/2016 - 7:26pm