UPDATE 1-Chesapeake Wyoming well response delayed by weather

Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:10pm GMT
 

* Inclement weather hinders well control operations
    * Leaking gas, drilling mud being contained: EPA

    NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s
 crews have delayed their attempt to control a well
blowout in Wyoming until the weather improves, the company said
on Thursday.	
    Chesapeake lost control of the well near Douglas, Wyoming on
Tuesday leading to a blowout that leaked natural gas and
drilling mud. 	
    "We're waiting for the wind direction and speed to change,"
Chesapeake spokeswoman Kelsey Campbell said. She declined to
specify the exact weather issues stalling the company's response
to the blowout.	
    An inspector with the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commision reported
weather conditions were still unfavorable at 1:00 p.m. local
time (0700GMT), according to Tom Doll, the commission's
supervisor.	
    The blow out did not pose a threat to water supply in the
region and the leak has been effectively contained, according to
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   	
    "Our understanding is that attempts will be made to seal the
actual blow out today," EPA Region 8 spokesman Richard Mylott
said in an email. 	
    The loss of well control at a Chesapeake-operated well on
Tuesday triggered a leak of unspecified quantities of natural
gas and drilling mud, the company said on Wednesday. 	
    The company said it has a crew in place and plans to seal
the well as soon as safety conditions permit. A spokesman did
not provide further details on Thursday.                	
    Dozens of residents near the well, which is located about 10
miles from Douglas, Wyoming, were evacuated from their homes
after the incident. No injuries, explosion or fires have been
reported, and air quality readings near the well were "normal"
on Wednesday, Chesapeake said earlier. 	
    The EPA has visited the site and determined the incident
poses "no current threat to waters in the United States," the
EPA's Mylott said.	
    Chesapeake is "effectively containing the drilling mud and
controlling the area for exposure to natural gas," he added in a
statement.	
    An EPA official had told Reuters on Wednesday that a "sheen"
 had been reported on an irrigation channel and pond near the
well. 	
    The cause of the well incident was under investigation. 	
    Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake is the No. 2 U.S. natural gas
driller. Wyoming is a key area of drilling expansion for
Chesapeake, which holds leases across in the oil and gas-rich
Niobrara Shale play that straddles Wyoming and Colorado. 	
    Chesapeake shares fell 0.5 percent to $18.03 on the New York
Stock Exchange in Thursday morning trading.

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