News Release 2010-03-12


News Release 2010-03-12

News Release 2010-03-12 (NR2010-04)

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Well-control crews halt gas flow at well blowout near Hythe

For immediate release

Calgary, Alberta (Mar 12, 2010)… As of 3:45 AM today, well-control specialists have regained control of a natural gas well and ended the blowout that occurred 19 km northwest of Hythe, Alberta, at approximately 3:00 AM on February 24. The gas well, licensed to Canadian Natural Resources Limited, had been on fire since the incident began.

Over the past several days, well-control specialists cleared the site, installed new blowout preventers, and pumped drilling mud downhole, which restored equilibrium in the geological formation and ended the flow of gas to the surface. Cement is currently being pumped down the wellbore to ensure the flow can not resume and abandonment of the well can proceed.

Because there is a very small chance that flow to the surface could resume prior to the conclusion of the cementing operation, Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) field inspectors will continue to monitor the site closely, and air monitoring will be maintained in the area until tomorrow.

Air monitoring was put in place shortly after the blowout occurred. Seven mobile air quality monitoring units were in the area to monitor for any off-lease hydrogen sulphide or sulphur dioxide – a by-product created when hydrogen sulphide is burned – emissions during well-control operations.

Throughout this incident, there was no threat to public health, safety, or the environment at any time. No off-lease emissions of hydrogen sulphide or sulphur dioxide were detected. Residents in the area were notified and kept informed as work progressed at the site, as were all appropriate authorities.

The ERCB is investigating this incident and will issue a public report with its findings following the conclusion of its investigation.

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For more information, please contact:

Bob Curran, ERCB Communications
Phone: 403-297-3392
Media line: 1-855-474-6356