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DEC SITREP #4 Repsol Q2 Pad Gas and Mud Release

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Division of Spill Prevention and Response
Prevention and Emergency Response Program

Incident Description

Location Qugruk #2 Pad, on the Colville River Delta, approximately 18 miles northeast of Nuiqsut, Alaska (70°27'19" N, 150°44'52" W)
Product/Quantity Repsol estimates that approximately 42,000 gallons (1,000 barrels) of fresh-water-based drilling mud have been released to the ice drilling pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. An unknown amount of gas has been released. The mud that was released is a mixture of minerals (primarily barium sulfate) and water. Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill, control formation pressure, and remove cuttings from the bore. No oil has been spilled.
Cause Repsol contractor Nabors Drilling was drilling an exploratory well when the drill penetrated a shallow gas pocket at a depth of 2,523 feet, resulting in a gas kick. The gas kick drove drilling mud out of the well and through the gas diverter, which extends 75 feet from the rig, onto the ice pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. Additional mud was pumped into the borehole in an attempt to kill the well, but that mud was also blown out.
Time/Date of Incident Repsol reported the incident to ADEC at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2012.
Situation Reports
02/17/2012 1500 (PDF 318K)
02/16/2012 1400 (PDF 224K)
02/15/2012 1930 (PDF 225K)
02/15/2012 1600 (PDF 657K)

 

Maps
Aerial photo/map showing incident location (PDF 333K)

SITUATION REPORT
Repsol Q2 Pad Gas and Mud Release
SITREP # 4
SPILL NUMBER: 12399904601

TIME/DATE OF SPILL: Repsol reported the incident to ADEC at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2012.

TIME/DATE OF SITUATION REPORT: 3:00 PM on February 17, 2012

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED: Repsol estimates that approximately 42,000 gallons (1,000 barrels) of fresh-water-based drilling mud have been released to the ice drilling pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. An unknown amount of gas has been released. The mud that was released is a mixture of minerals (primarily barium sulfate) and water. Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill, control formation pressure, and remove cuttings from the bore. No oil has been spilled.

INCIDENT LOCATION: Qugruk #2 Pad, on the Colville River Delta, approximately 18 miles northeast of Nuiqsut, Alaska (70°27’19” N, 150°44’52” W)

CAUSE OF SPILL: Repsol contractor Nabors Drilling was drilling an exploratory well when the drill penetrated a shallow gas pocket at a depth of 2,523 feet, resulting in a gas kick. The gas kick drove drilling mud out of the well and through the gas diverter, which extends 75 feet from the rig, onto the ice pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. Additional mud was pumped into the borehole in an attempt to kill the well, but that mud was also blown out.

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP): Repsol E&P USA

RESPONSE ACTION: The well control team, comprised of personnel from Wild Well Control Inc., Repsol and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), continues to assess safety issues and the condition of rig equipment. AOGCC is responsible for state oversight of the well control operation. Work crews have started rigging scaffolding, tarps and heaters to thaw rig equipment, but the amount of time that will be required to restore necessary function is not known. The ambient temperature at the site today was reported to be -18°F. Three WWC personnel and an AOGCC inspector are on-site to provide technical consultation and oversight.
During a flight over the spill site late yesterday, observers acquired Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) video imagery that can be used to make a rough estimate of the spill size. ADEC personnel estimate from the imagery that the off-pad area affected by drilling mud and water is at least three acres. Another overflight departed Deadhorse at around 11:30 AM today with an ADEC responder and North Slope Borough Representative on board. Information they collected on that overflight is currently being analyzed.
Four ADEC spill responders and two facility inspectors are currently based at the forward command post at Palm Pad, a staging pad approximately 26 miles east of the Qugruk #2 pad by ice road.

SOURCE CONTROL: The well ceased flowing at about 9:00 PM last night, February 16. No well control operations have been undertaken thus far. Air monitoring shows no accumulation of methane gas around the rig.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: Snow-covered tundra and ice pad. Drilling mud can affect tundra plants by changing soil pH and salinity. Brackish water produced by the well may also increase soil salinity.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Cleanup cannot safely begin until the well is under control. The well control team will give cleanup personnel approximately 24 hours notice in advance of completion of the well control operation. Plans are in place for delineating and cleaning up the spill, and necessary personnel crews and equipment are on standby. A reduced incident management team will continue to monitor the operation from Anchorage and two ADEC responders will remain at Palm Pad until cleanup operations are imminent, at which time additional staff will be recalled. A wildlife hazing crew is expected to arrive on-site today to keep wildlife out of the spill area and scout for polar bear dens while well control work continues.

UNIFIED COMMAND AND PERSONNEL:
Incident Commander: Jeremy Michels, O’Brien’s Response Management
F.O.S.C.: Matt Carr, EPA
S.O.S.C.: Tom DeRuyter, ADEC
L.O.S.C.: Gordon Brower, North Slope Borough
Field SOSC: Wes Ghormley, ADEC

WEATHER: Today: Cloudy; high temperature -5 to 0°F; east wind 10 mph.
Tonight: Cloudy; low -15°F; east wind 10 mph.
Saturday: Cloudy; high -5°F; east wind 15 mph.

TIME/DATE OF THE NEXT REPORT: 2:00 PM on February 18, 2012

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Ty Keltner, Public Information Officer, ADEC (907) 465-5009

Photographs and other spill information will be available for viewing at: http://www.state.ak.us/dec/spar/perp/index.htm

SITREP # 3
SPILL NUMBER: 12399904601

TIME/DATE OF SPILL: Repsol reported the incident to ADEC at 10:29 AM on February 15, 2012.

TIME/DATE OF SITUATION REPORT: 2:00 PM on February 16, 2012

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED: Repsol estimates that approximately 42,000 gallons (1,000 barrels) of fresh-water-based drilling mud have been released to the ice pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. An unknown amount of gas has been released. The mud that was released is a mixture of minerals (primarily barium sulfate) and water. Drilling mud is used to lubricate the drill, control formation pressure, and remove cuttings from the bore. No oil has been spilled.

INCIDENT LOCATION: Qugruk #2 Pad, on the Colville River Delta, approximately 18 miles northeast of Nuiqsut, Alaska (70°27’19” N, 150°44’52” W)

CAUSE OF SPILL: Repsol contractor Nabors Drilling was drilling an exploratory well when the drill penetrated a shallow gas pocket at a depth of 2,525 feet, resulting in a gas kick. The gas kick drove drilling mud out of the well and through the gas diverter, which extends 75 feet from the rig, onto the ice pad and adjacent snow-covered tundra. Additional mud was pumped into the borehole in an attempt to kill the well, but that mud was also blown out.

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP): Repsol E&P USA

RESPONSE ACTION: A team from Wild Well Control Inc. (WWC) arrived at the drilling pad at 5:30 AM today. Gas levels at the pad were low enough for the team to work safely on the pad and begin their assessment of the well. Air monitoring shows that the flow of gas from the well is minimal. WWC is working with Repsol engineers and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) on a well control plan.
A planned overflight of the drilling pad to view the spill was cancelled this afternoon due to fog. An overflight will be made at the first opportunity, with an ADEC responder on board. Three other ADEC responders are en route to begin round-the-clock monitoring of the cleanup.

SOURCE CONTROL: The well is currently not under control. Small amounts of methane gas and water continue to flow from the well. Drilling mud is no longer flowing from the well.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: Snow-covered tundra and ice pad. Drilling mud can affect tundra plants by changing soil pH and salinity.

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Once the well is under control, Alaska Clean Seas crews will have access to the pad to delineate the spill and begin cleaning up the drilling mud.

UNIFIED COMMAND AND PERSONNEL:
Incident Commander: Jeremy Michaels, O’Brien’s Response Management
F.O.S.C.: Matt Carr, EPA
S.O.S.C.: Tom DeRuyter, ADEC
Field SOSC: Wes Ghormley, ADEC

WEATHER: Today: Snow showers and areas of fog; high temperature 4°F; northeast wind 10 mph.
Tonight: Chance of snow; low -14°F; east wind 10 mph.
Friday: Cloudy; high -3°F; east wind 10 mph.

TIME/DATE OF THE NEXT REPORT: 2:00 PM on February 17, 2012

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