Oklahoma natural gas drilling rig catches fire

A Chesapeake Energy drilling rig caught fire Thursday night outside of Sweetwater, Okla., according to a company spokesman and an online oil field drilling forum.

The rig was drilling into a shallow gas pocket about four miles outside of Sweetwater when workers found an unexpectedly high pressure of natural gas at only 910 feet below the surface, Jim Gipson, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. The site was supposed to be drilled to more than 12,000 feet vertically before being drilled horizontally, Gipson said.

Soon after workers experienced the high pressure, the rig caught fire, sending flames several feet into the air, according to Drilling Ahead, an online drilling forum.

No injuries were reported, Gipson said.

“Well-control specialists are on the location,” Gipson said. ” There will be (a) very thorough investigation into the cause of the incident.”

The rig was owned by Nomac Drilling, a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy.

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