Workers are making progress toward controlling blown out natural gas wells in north Red River Parish however an accurate estimate of the time required to complete the task is not available. The state Department of Natural Resources is monitoring the situation and has permitted intercept wells to be drilled as part of the control effort.
DNR spokesperson Patrick Courreges told The Journal work crews have constructed a horizontal diversion pipe on one of the blown out wells. This is to divert escaping gas and water into a flare pit where it is a safe spot to burn off escaping methane. He said they are working on getting a temporary well head on a second well to divert it also into a flare pit.
Courreges said, “It is mostly blowing water coming from the wells. There is some methane and they are trying to burn off the methane.” He added, “Meanwhile we have permitted two diversion or intercept wells and they are moving forward with the intercept wells. They have not begun drilling them yet.” The intercept wells would drill deep underground and intercept the well casing of the blown out wells in order to plug or control those wells.
There is a large plume of smoke visible by day and two pillars of fire that can be seen at night. Courreges said most of the smoke comes from water being sprayed on the wells. The largest fire is from the flare pit where gas escaping from one well is being diverted and burned.
As for how long it might take to completely control those two wells, Courreges said, “It is not possible to predict an exact date, there are too many variables. Crews are working as quickly as possible but still maintain safety for the workers at the site.”