Crews cut off gas flowing from blown-out well near Silt

SILT — Crews on Thanksgiving afternoon succeeded in stopping the uncontrolled flow of natural gas from a well that suffered a blowout two days earlier.

“We successfully got the well under control,” said Jon Black, local operations manager for the well’s owner, Denver-based Antero Resources.

Well-control crews pumped drilling mud down the well, reducing the flow enough so additional equipment could be operated to stem the flow, Black said.

He said Antero will be able to save the well and put it back into production.

“The well’s still very much considered a producible asset,” he said.

Several homes are in the vicinity of the well, in a rural area southwest of Silt. However, monitors showed no problems with gas levels in the area, and no evacuations were necessary.

The Western Colorado Congress citizens group this week expressed concern about the health dangers to area residents from the release of gas and associated chemicals. Antero says the incident’s environmental impacts should be minimal because gas floats up into the atmosphere.

Black said deer and elk were seen within 50 feet of the drilling site while the gas was still escaping and didn’t seem to be affected.

“The deer would just come and go as they pleased,” he said.

Black said response crews were able to identify equipment that was part of the problem, and were working on Friday to repair the damaged components. One problem involved a tie-down bolt that retains a hanger used to help seal a tubing head at the wellhead, he said.

Just what caused the blowout remains in question, however.

“There will be a full investigation Monday,” Black said.

He said the only damage to equipment occurred at the wellhead. A workover rig that was in place when the blowout occurred is in good condition, Black said.

A workover rig is used to put a well into production after another rig drills the well. The blowout occurred just as the final stages of well completion were taking place.


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