Crews Still Trying to Contain Sour Gas Leak by Questerre Energy Corporation South of Grand Prairie (near recent groundwater contamination case caused by fracing) & north of Grand Cache, Alberta

Well site incident under investigation by Patrick Callan, January 12, 2013,  Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) remains on site at Questerre Energy Corporation following an uncontrolled release of completion fluids from a natural gas well site near Grande Cache Friday afternoon. Questerre says they are currently conducting testing operations on a Montney natural gas well in the Kakwa area 45 kilometres north of Grande Cache. … The ERCB says air monitoring on Highway 40 north of Grande Cache found very low levels of hydrogen sulfide. … The ERCB says no waterways were affected and all appropriate agencies have been contacted. Questerre is working closely with regulators to bring the well under control as quickly as possible and to find out what caused the equipment failure. [Emphasis added]

Crews Still Trying to Contain Gas Leak South of Grand Prairie by Sara Warr, January 12, 2013, hqgrandprairie
RCMP closed highway 40 and other area roads for about 2 hours late yesterday afternoon as a precaution. The ERCB says the incident occured at a Questerre Energy Corporation site about 45kms north of Grande Cache. Air monitoring in the area continues as the leak has yet to be contained.  Extremely low levels of H2S were detected on the highway yesterday, but Police say there was no threat to public safety. The site itself was also evacuated as a precaution, but workers have since returned. [Emphasis added]

Questerre Energy Statement Regarding 15-01 Kakwa Gas Well Press Release by Questerre, January 12, 2013, Marketwire-
Questerre Energy Corporation (“Questerre” or the “Company”) (TSX:QEC)(OSLO:QEC) is currently conducting testing operations on a Montney natural gas well, (“15-01” or the “Well”), in the Kakwa area, 45 kilometers north of Grand Cache, Alberta. During a routine pressure test of the wellbore integrity we experienced an equipment failure resulting in an uncontrolled release of gas and fluids from the Well. Well site staff were all safely evacuated and first responders have secured the site. … We have dispatched well control experts and a safety team to a nearby offsite command center. The Company is working closely with the regulators to bring the Well under control as quickly as possible and to investigate the cause of the equipment failure. Michael Binnion, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “A loss of well control is the most serious incident we can have in our business. This is the first in my career and I hoped that any company I worked with would never be involved in one.” He added, “As an advocate for our industries’ safety record it is simply unacceptable to be responsible for this accident. We will do everything possible to mitigate the situation and ensure it is not repeated.”

During preliminary testing operations for the 15-01 well, H2S was detected which appears to be associated with the produced water. The natural gas was tested while drilling and was confirmed to be sweet natural gas. Until it is conclusively proven that the H2S is from sour produced water, as a safety precaution the Well is being treated as a sour gas well.

RCMP Re-open Hwy 40 As ERCB Investigate Well Site Incident by Sandra Warr, January 11, 2013, hqgrandprairie
Highway 40 south of Grande Prairie has been reopened. RCMP had closed the road about 70kms south of the city to about 50kms north of Grande Cache, after a suspected sour gas leak Friday afternoon. Officials with the Energy Resources Conservation Board have confirmed to police that an incident did occur at a well site about 110kms South of Grande Prairie. … It’s unclear what caused the incident, although RCMP say it’s not being considered suspicious. [Emphasis added]

Highway 40 reopens after sour gas leak by CBC News, January 11, 2013 Emergency crews were sent to the well located in a sparsely populated area about 110 kilometres south of Grande Prairie. Police were told about a potential leak of H2S around 2:45 p.m. Friday so the highway was closed south of the Canfor Cut Across, about 50 kilometres north of Grande Cache. 

Sour gas leak prompts RCMP to close stretch of Highway 40 in northwest Alberta by The Canadian Press, January 11, 2013, Times Colonist
GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – A highway in northwest Alberta that was closed due to a leak of potentially deadly sour has been reopened. Police had closed a 100-kilometre stretch of Highway 40 Friday afternoon south of the communities of Grande Prairie and north of Grande Cache because of a sour gas leak at a well site about 110 kilometres south of Grande Prairie. Mounties say they closed it as a precaution to protect motorists passing through the area, which is sparsely populated. However, Mounties say they were advised by the Energy Resources Conservation Board that emergency crews had responded and there was no threat to public safety. Police also say they were asked to reopen the highway immediately. Sour gas is a poisonous natural gas that contains hydrogen sulphide and is colourless, flammable and smells like rotten eggs. Police say there are no indications that the incident at the well site was a result of a criminal act.

Highway 40 closed by sour gas leak by Jodie Sinnema, January 11, 2013, Edmonton Journal
A sour gas leak in northern Alberta has closed a highway south of Grande Prairie and put RCMP and industry on alert. “It might be an overreaction, but we’re still trying to get more information,” said Cpl. Roy Kennedy with the Grande Prairie RCMP. “The RCMP are treating it seriously because it can be very dangerous.”

Highway 40 south of Grande Prairie will be closed south of the Canfor Cut Across about 50 kilometres north of Grande Cache until further notice. Sour gas is natural gas that contains a significant amount of hydrogen sulphide. The highway closure is meant to keep motorists in the area safe. Kennedy said there are many companies operating in the area south of Grande Prairie to Grande Cache, but because the area is very rural, there are few or no residents within 50 to 100 kilometres of the leak, he said. RCMP and industry are working together to determine if the leak is coming from a drilling site or one of the industrial plants. … Kennedy doesn’t know if staff at the various companies operating in the area have been evacuated, but he’s sure all have launched their emergency response plans as necessary. Emergency crews are responding to the scene, but haven’t yet gone close to the area where the leak is believed to be coming from because of safety issues. … The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says sour gas is a colourless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs and is poisonous to humans and animals. About 30 per cent of the natural gas in Western Canada is sour, the association says on its website. Sour gas production has been a concern in many Alberta communities for years. [Emphasis added]

Sour Gas Leak Closes Highway 40 by Sara Warr, January 11, 2013, hqgrandprairie
Highway 40 has been closed due to a sour gas leak. RCMP say the highway south of Grande Prairie is closed south of the Canfor cut across to approximately 50kms north of Grande Cache until further notice. Police say they’ve shut the highway down to help ensure the safety of motorists in the area. Emergency crews are on their way to the scene but it’s unclear when the highway will re-open. Traffic on the Weyerhaeuser Log Haul road could also be affected. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Shale Gas: How Often Do Fracked Wells Leak?

Hydraulic fracturing with gelled propane by Gasfrac/Crew Energy Inc./Caltex Energy Inc. contaminated groundwater near Grande Prairie: ERCB Investigative Report and groundwater monitoring by Alberta Environment

Fracking blowout report released by ERCB December 12, 2012 

Fracking Contamination ‘Will Get Worse’: Alberta Expert Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs ]

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