Alta well fire could burn for two weeks

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The Well Fire near Hythe and Tomslake could burn for up to two weeks, according to the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

The CNRL Crew was drilling into the Mississippian formation, and at about 3300 metres, workers experienced a sudden loss of fluid and a release of gas. The control mechanisms in place couldn’t hold back the pressure and the rig had a full blow-back at 3 a.m. The rest of the rig caught fire around 6 a.m.

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According to the OGC, the well was releasing 50 million cubic feet of gas per day, which has contributed to the size of the fire. They believe the rig hit an unusual fracture in the formation or a high pressure reserve. With that amount of gas flowing through the rig, the current fire is 5 times bigger than any other well fire seen in the B.C. Peace Region.

The Oil and Gas Commission does not have any concerns for safety for residents nearby the fire, on the B.C. side of the border, but was called in because of how close the well is located to the British Columbia Border.

In an interview with the Dawson Creek Daily News, Richard Boonstra says the Alberta Energy and Resources Conservation Board is downplaying the health consequences. Bob Curran, spokesperson for the AERC Board, says there is absolutely zero cause for alarm, and to suggest otherwise is ‘irresponsible’.

For photos and video of the fire, click here.

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