FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has released a report on the 2017 well fire at a facility owned by Todd Energy near Wonowon.
On December 3, 2017, workers heard a loud bang followed by a gas release from a well site north of Wonowon. Only 83 seconds after the gas release, a fire started at the facility.
The report released by the OGC suggests the incident was caused by human error when installing the bull plug on the north casing flange of the wellhead. The report says “Had the threads of the bull plug been fully engaged in the north casing flange, it is unlikely that well control would have been lost.”
“The investigation was not able to identify who installed the bull plug in the north casing flange or when it was installed. Based on interviews, the bull plug may have been installed within 24 hours of when the incident occurred, but this could not be verified.”
The fire started on December 3, and it wasn’t until December 22, 2017, when the incident was over, and crews were stood down. A total of 36 people were working on the site at the time of the incident, and thankfully no one was injured.
The report says the collection of evidence was difficult due to the fire and the length of the incident. “Physical evidence recovered from the site included the wellhead from the ‘0’ well (the first of five wells on the property), a two-inch bull plug that was found at the base of the wellhead and the backplate of the pressure gauge that was installed on the well. The backplate of the pressure gauge was recovered shortly after the incident by TECL (Todd Energy) and was subsequently misplaced during the emergency response effort.“
The Oil and Gas Commission has directed Todd Energy to develop a procedure to ensure wellhead components are assembled by competent personnel and that connections are inspected and documented before being pressurized. The Commission says Todd Energy has already implemented a wellhead checklist.
The report also says Todd Energy must do ongoing monitoring of groundwater to show that remediation from the fire has been completed.
A copy of the event timeline and the full report are below.
Todd Energy Well Fire Timeline
|July 2014||• Commission issues well permits for the ‘0’ well and the ‘A’ well to Paramount Resources Ltd.|
|Sept/Oct 2014||• ‘0’ well is drilled and completed (hydraulically fractured).|
|March 2015||• Permits for the ‘0’ and ‘A’ wells are transferred to Todd Energy Canada Ltd. (TECL).|
|Feb. 2016||• TECL conducts a suspended well check and takes pictures of the ‘0’ wellhead.|
|June 2017||• Commission issues permits for the ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ wells.|
|June 2017||• Pictures of ‘0’ wellhead taken during routine site inspection by TECL.|
|Nov. 23, 2017||• Pressure monitoring equipment installed on ‘0’ well north casing valve to monitor casing pressure during fracturing of the ‘A’ well.|
|Nov. 30, 2017||• Rig up service rig to run casing patch on ‘A’ well.|
|Dec. 1, 2017||• Rig up well test equipment to flow ‘0’ well to reduce formation pressure during service rig operations on the ‘A’ well. • ‘0’ well is flowing water.|
|Dec. 2, 2017||• Pressure gauge on ‘0’ well casing valve removed to address freezing/hydrate issues.|
|Dec. 3, 2017:|
|5 a.m.||• Well testers note first burnable gas while flowing the ‘0’ well.|
|10:51 a.m.||• Incident occurs - sudden gas release on ‘0’ well. Site evacuated and emergency response activated. • Ignition occurs within 83 seconds. • Well is flowing out of control and flame is impinging on the ‘A’ well.|
|11:22 a.m.||• TECL reports incident to Emergency Management BC (EMBC).|
|11:26 a.m.||• Commission receives report of incident from EMBC and begins activation of Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).|
|1:03 p.m.||TECL confirms that their EOC is open, roadblocks are in place, air monitoring, well control and fire safety specialists are en route. Thirty-six people have been evacuated from the site and all are accounted for.|
|3:46 p.m.||• TECL confirms they have contacted area permit holders, closest residents and the Blueberry River First Nations.|
|4:49 p.m.||• Fire trucks and air monitoring are on site. • Site security is to be maintained overnight with well control operations resuming in the morning.|
|Dec. 4, 2017||• Well control specialist arrives on site.|
|Dec. 4, 2017||• Work focuses on clearing equipment off of the site to prepare for well control operations. • Service rig on ‘A’ well topples. Derrick lands on wellhead of ‘0’ well and bends wellhead. • Crane on site topples.|
|Dec. 5 - 9 2017||• Operations to remove damaged equipment and debris from site and prepare for well control operations.|
|Dec. 8, 2017||• Commission approves lease extension to allow additional area for well control operations.|
|Dec. 10, 2017||• Specialized well control equipment arrives on site. • Continue to prepare staging area for well control equipment.|
|Dec. 12, 2017||• Service rig cut and removed from the wellsite.|
|Dec. 13, 2017||• Fire truck continues to pump water to cool the wells. • Heat shielding in place to protect B, C, D wells from radiant heat.|
|Dec. 13, 2017||• Make initial cut to remove wellhead from the “0” well.|
|Dec. 15, 2017||• Make second cut, remove damaged wellhead from the ‘0’ well. • All flow from ‘0’ well is now going vertical. • Confirmation ‘A’ well is leaking from damaged wellhead seals and is on fire.|
|Dec. 16, 2017||• Operations on hold while ‘0’ well capping procedure is finalized.|
|Dec. 17, 2017||• Damaged wellhead shipped to Skystone International LP Calgary for analysis. • Complete pressure test of well capping blowout preventers.|
|Dec. 18, 2017||• Capping BOPs installed on ‘0’ well. • Well flow diverted to well test separator and flare. • ‘0’ well is now under control, fire on ‘A’ well continues.|
|Dec. 19, 2017||• Cut and remove damaged wellhead from the ‘A’ well. It appears that flow has ceased on the ‘A’ well.|
|Dec. 20, 2017||• Pump well kill fluid and install two temporary plugs in the ‘A’ well. Well is now secure.|
|Dec. 21, 2017||• New wellhead installed on ‘A’ well.|
|Dec. 22, 2017||• Pump kill fluid in the ‘0’ well, install temporary plugs in the ‘0’ well and complete installation of new wellhead. • Both wells are fully secured. Incident concluded and stood down.|