Hydro and OGC overseeing long-abandoned wellbore re-sealing near Site C

Construction on the south bank of the Peace River at the Site C job site on September 12th. Photo by Chris Newton

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro and the B.C. Oil & Gas Commission are working to properly re-seal a wellbore on the south bank of the Peace River near the Site C dam that was abandoned fifty years ago.

BC Hydro spokeswoman Mora Scott said that Hydro identified the existing, abandoned wellbore on the south bank of the dam site as part of the planning work for Site C in 2016. The wellbore in question was abandoned in 1967.

Work is currently underway to permanently cap the wellbore and to lower the surface casing by approximately five metres, which Scott said will allow construction to proceed in the area safely. The operation began in early August, and is expected to continue through September.

Scott explained that onsite work will entail re-entering the abandoned wellbore, drilling out the two cement plugs inside the surface casing, cleaning the bore hole from the base of the casing to a depth of 300 metres before then re-cementing the well with new plugs to ensure continued protection of any groundwater. Fluid from existing geological formations within the wellbore is currently being flowed into an onsite containment and is being removed safely until the next stage of the operation can commence.

The work is being coordinated between the well’s owner, BC Hydro’s construction management team, and the BC OGC, and Scott added that all required emergency response plans are in place.