Oil & Gas Commission releases detailed report into North Peace well failure

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It took nearly a year to complete, and was not the subject of a formal public release, but there’s confirmation the BC Oil and Gas Commission late last month concluded an investigation into a North Peace well failure.

It occurred late in 2014 at a Terra Energy well site north of the Peace River, about 12 kilometres west of Fort St. John, and the OGC report says the Calgary-based company received its first complaint of odours on the Old Hope Road on Dec. 11, 2014.

A short time later, company responders determined there was a gas release at the Terra Wilder wellsite coming from the surface casing vent on the wellhead.

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The Commission was notified and Terra activated its emergency response plan, securing the site, and conducting door to door notifications of area residents, despite some complaints to the contrary received by the OGC.

The OGC report says evacuation was not required, but the company did offer hotel accommodation for residents who chose to leave voluntarily.

It took nearly a week, but Terra opened an access road to the site, installed a flare stack where gas from the well site was directed and ignited, and brought in a service rig to assist in completion of well abandonment operations.

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On Dec. 17, the company identified that the casing failure had occurred at a depth of nearly one-metre and the failed section was removed and the well capped.

Subsequently, Terra completed an OGC requested review of all inactive wells in order to identify deficient ones and develop a corrective action plan which will prioritize work based on a risk assessment at each well.

The report says the Commission is monitoring the implementation of the plan and has completed its own review of all re-entry wells in BC and determined there are no other sites with a similar risk profile.

Terra Energy is a junior exploration and production company with operations concentrated primarily in northeastern BC and Alberta’s Peace River Arch region.

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