Workers on a gas drilling rig at El Paso’s Holly Field drilling site in Grand Cane, La., in October 2009. One worker died at a Chesapeake well in the same area this week. (James Nielsen/Chronicle)
One worker died and a second was seriously injured when a natural gas well being drilled by Chesapeake Energy blew Wednesday near the DeSoto Parish village of Grand Cane, according to the Associated Press:
“…. deputies evacuated about two dozen houses within two miles of the Chesapeake Energy well, which blew about 10:30 a.m.
Names of the dead and injured contract workers were not available.
The well blew during a workover, said Jean Kelly, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality. A Chesapeake news release said the well was undergoing routine maintenance when it blew.
Kelly said Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. was assessing damage Wednesday and expected to begin capping the well on Thursday.
Chesapeake provided the following statement this afternoon:
At approximately 11 a.m. on November 18, a well control incident occurred at Chesapeake’s Sumner 25H-1 natural gas well located approximately three miles east of Grand Cane in Desoto Parish, Louisiana.
There was one injury and one fatality. Both workers were contracted to Dynasty Transportation, LLC of Broussard, Louisiana. The deceased was James Dennis, 58 years old, from Bullard, Texas. The other worker, Jimmy Siler, 30 years old, from Bullard, Texas is listed in critical, but stable condition.
Emergency response crews from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Department and DeSoto Parish Fire District #8 responded. Chesapeake is very appreciative of the rapid and professional response efforts from local emergency agencies.
Good progress was made throughout the night on preparing the site to begin work activities associated with regaining control of the well. Currently, situational assessments are being conducted and will be integrated into the action plan developed by Chesapeake well-control experts who are working with well-control specialists from Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. As we work to restore control to the well, Chesapeake’s priorities are to deliberately and precisely work to insure the safety to the public, our employees and contract professionals.
The number of evacuated households remains constant at 15. For those who chose, Chesapeake is providing displaced residents with hotel and living expenses. Chesapeake representatives are in contact with displaced residents to insure a consistent communications flow.
Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, and we apologize for the inconvenience to those who have been temporarily displaced from their homes.
There has been no threat to the public or environment, and air quality around the perimeter of the location is continuously being monitored as a precaution. The cause of the incident will be investigated.
Chesapeake provideds a second update this evening:
At approximately 5:40 p.m. this evening Chesapeake crews announced that control of the Sumner 25H-1 natural gas well has been regained. The Sumner 25H-1 well is located approximately three miles east of Grand Cane in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana.
The well control incident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18. There was one injury and one fatality, both workers were contract employees to Dynasty Transportation, LLC of Broussard, Louisiana.
The 15 families who had been previously evacuated will be contacted by Chesapeake personnel and permitted to return to their homes under the direction of the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office requests evacuees to stay in place tonight and contact their dispatch number after 8 a.m. Friday morning. Evacuees should call 318-872-3956 for further instructions. Chesapeake has been providing displaced residents with hotel and living expenses.
Throughout the incident air quality around a wide radius of the well location was monitored as a precaution. There has been no threat to the public’s safety or environment. The cause of the incident will be thoroughly investigated.