Apache Halts Drilling, Mobilizes Rig on Gas ‘Migration’

Apache Corp. evacuated some rig workers, halted drilling and shut in a well in the Gulf of Mexico after natural gas began flowing up.

Apache is working to kill the well and is bringing in another rig to drill a relief well if it’s required, John Roper, an Apache spokesman, said in an e-mail today. No pollution has been detected from the well, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Venice, Louisiana, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a notice yesterday.

The company found “underground migration” of gas from the bottom of the 8,261-foot (2,518-meter) well to another sand formation at about 1,100 feet, Roper said. The well at Main Pass 295 in the Gulf began flowing on Feb. 5, he said in a phone interview. Apache was drilling in 218 feet of water.

Apache evacuated non-essential workers and the well’s blowout preventer was activated.

(Company corrects date of event in third paragraph.)
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