After weeks of work through inclement weather and the evacuation of 30 households following a well pad explosion Feb. 15, XTO Energy announced Wednesday that the well was successfully capped.
In order to make the site safe for workers to plug the leak, XTO “flared,” or burned off excess gas, at the site. The mostly methane gas was directed to an excavated containment area and ignited. The gas burned through the night, illuminating the sky above much of Belmont County with an orange glow. Residents in areas such as Morristown, Belmont and Centerville reported seeing the light from the flames, as well as bright flashes of light they compared to lightning.
The flaring process made the area safe for workers. Capping operations subsequently were completed fairly quickly Wednesday morning.
“We have gained control of the well. It has stopped flowing,” XTO spokeswoman Karen Matusic said. “We did the flare (Tuesday), and that was to move the gas away from the site so that the men could go on and shut the valve off. We also had to pump fluid and mud back into the well to further secure it, and once they did that and they were confident with the pressure and took some pressure testings, they were able to shut it off. The whole process took about two and a half hours (Wednesday) morning once they extinguished the flare.”
Matusic said the next step would be facilitating the evacuees’ return home.Click here to read the whole article.
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