Second well successfully capped in Dunkard Twp.

February 25, 2014
One worker remains missing after a gas well explosion near Bobtown in Dunkard Township Feb. 11. The intensity of the flames prevented crews from getting close to the fire at the Lanco wellhead. - Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Wild Well Control Tuesday successfully capped the second Lanco well, 6H, said Lee Ann Wainwright, a spokeswoman for Chevron.

“At this time, both wells are capped, stopping gas flow from the wells,” Wainwright said. “These are significant milestones in our response efforts.”

Today, Wild Well Control will assess the integrity of the 8H well, “although there is no indication that it is leaking,” according to Department of Environment Protection representative Alan Eichler.

The integrity testing involves inspecting the seals on the well head, as well as testing the integrity of the valves and ports.

“Once we have diagnostics from the testing, we will begin planning the path forward and complete any repairs, if necessary, to secure this final well,” Wainwright said.

Wainwright said the continuing well intervention efforts involve many steps and must be executed in a precise, controlled and methodical manner.

“We are working to be efficient in our efforts; and the safety of the workers and operations will determine the appropriate pace.”

Once it is determined that the 8H well is also secure, a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the incident will begin.

Air samples taken were consistent with readings at a Pennsylvania DEP air quality station in Washington. Air sampling will continue during the duration of the response activities.

Workers began capping procedures early Tuesday, attempting to cap the second and final natural gas well that was still releasing gas at the Chevron well pad in Dunkard Township that exploded two weeks ago. The second well was capped at 4 p.m.

An explosion at the well pad Feb. 11 left one worker with minor injuries and another worker dead. The worker who died was identified as Ian McKee, 27, a native of Warren, who was employed as a field representative for Cameron International.

Two of the three wells on the pad impacted by the explosion burned until Feb. 15 when they extinguished themselves. The two wells, however, continued to release gas.

On Sunday, crews from Wild Well Control, a contractor brought in by Chevron to extinguish the blaze, were able to cap one of the wells, designated 7H.

In a release issued earlier by Chevron, the company said after the wells are capped, it will install plugs as protective barriers about 8,000 feet below the surface in all three wells to prevent gas pressure from reaching the well head. This could take about four days for each well to be completed, the company said.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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