The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Chesapeake Energy Well Blowout in Wyoming Causes Evacuation, Methane 'Roared' for Days
A potentially dangerous oil well blowout at a Chesapeake Energy site in Wymoing caused at least 60 and perhaps 70 residents to evacuate within 5 miles of the disaster for several days until it was contained earlier today. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) was drilling the well in the Niobrara Shale region underlying parts of Wyoming, Colorada and Nebraska.
"Potentially explosive methane gas roared from the ground at the site five miles northeast of the town of Douglas," the AP reported.
Residents reported hearing the roar of escaping gas six miles away.
The blowout occurred Tuesday afternoon at Chesapeake's Combs Ranch Unit well site. However, workers were unable to plug the well with drilling mud until today due to shifting winds that made the site too dangerous to attempt the now infamous "Top Kill" technique. Halliburton subsidiary Boots & Coots workers were able to shove enough mud and other materials into the well to finally stop the methane gas leaking out of the well today.
Chesapeake had to resort to the "Top Kill" technique last year at a Pennsylvania gas fracking well blowout. In that case, Chesapeake used a junk shot of “a mix of plastic, ground up tires and heavy mud to plug the well.”
The Wyoming incident occured following completion of horizontal drilling, a precursor to the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of the well, which would've occured in the coming weeks, according to local press accounts.
Once again, the failure appears tied to a faulty casing job. The Douglas Budget reports that, "the horizontal part of the drilling had been completed. The drillers pulled out the bit and were going to run the casing into the horizontal leg of the well."
That's when the blowout occurred, apparently.
Tom Doll, a Wyoming State Oil and Gas supervisor, told local press that the state had no idea how much methane gas had spewed into the air following the blowout, and would rely on Chesapeake to supply an answer.
“It’s bad for the air quality, there’s no doubt,” Doll said. “But we have no idea yet an estimate of how much gas is being released. We’re expecting Chesapeake to be estimating that.”
Anybody see anything potentially wrong with relying on the company responsible for a disaster to estimate the amount of pollution released from it? I'm sure the company will be perfectly honest and transparent about this, right?
Reposted with permision from DeSmogBlog.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
No longer will the options when we die be a choice between just burial or cremation. Soon it will be possible to compost your remains and leave your loved ones with rich soil, thanks to a new funeral service opening in Seattle in 2021 that will convert humans into soil in just 30 days, as The Independent reported.
The holiday season is supposed to be about giving and sharing, but often it is actually about throwing away. The U.S. generates 25 percent more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year's than it does during the rest of the year. That's around one million extra tons per week, according to National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) figures reported by The Associated Press.
The brushfires raging through New South Wales have shrouded Australia's largest city in a blanket of smoke that pushed the air quality index 12 times worse than the hazardous threshold, according to the Australia Broadcast Corporation (ABC).
By David B. Goldstein
Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of any country's plan to fight the climate crisis. It is the cheapest option available, and one that as often as not comes along with other benefits, such as job creation, comfort and compatibility with other key solutions such as renewable energy. This has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for at least a decade.
By Andrea Germanos
Over 500 groups on Monday rolled out an an action plan for the next president's first days of office to address the climate emergency and set the nation on a transformative path towards zero emissions and a just transition in their first days in office.