Workers attach pipe to well implicated in natural gas releases near Kingfisher

Friday, December 16th 2005, 6:14 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A week after natural gas started shooting to the surface along a creek in Kingfisher County, workers began removing gas Friday from a well that is believed responsible for the problem.

State experts believe a well drilled by Chesapeake Energy Corp. 12 miles west of Okarche hit a major flow of natural gas Dec. 9 and that the gas then escaped out the side of the hole and traveled, possibly through an underground fissure or fault line, several miles before surfacing along Winter Camp Creek.

Workers attached a pipeline to the well Friday and began removing gas. Over a period of days, this should reduce gas pressure in the area and end the natural gas releases, one of which is about a mile from the town of Kingfisher, said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil drilling in Oklahoma. The flow of gas will be gradually increased in the pipeline.

An aerial survey of the area was done Friday

``They've finished the flyover this morning and the situation is definitely stable,'' Skinner said. ``All indications at this point are that the gas releases may be diminishing a little bit.''

He said 14 homes along the creek have been checked for air pollution or problems with drinking water and no such problems have been found.

The gas releases were first reported by hunters in the area, who saw water and mud shooting several feet into the air.

Emergency officials were concerned initially that the explosive gas might find its way into Kingfisher and an evacuation center was temporarily set up in case people had to leave their homes. However, the gas releases stopped short of town and evacuations were not required.