Rapid Response to Well Head Release
An oil and gas company, dedicated to responsible energy exploration and production, responded quickly and decisively to a natural gas well control incident. Due to a period of record-breaking rains, a primary containment wall failed, causing a release of 10,000 gallons of well fluid. The production fluid, mixing with rainwater, flowed off the well pad and into nearby pasture, pond, and creek.
GES was called in as part of the rapid response team. Our responders engaged with stakeholders – including client, contractors, regulators, property owners, concerned neighbors, and local media – to assess the situation and implement an effective solution. GES’ team included 20 on-site staff and an office support team working diligently to investigate the spill and mitigate any impacts, as the torrential rains continued.
To maximize communication effectiveness, GES structured its team to match the client’s organizational leads. An important step was to develop a respectful and supportive relationship with a local property owner, enabling establishment of a temporary field headquarters and equipment deployment site. Understanding the need to rapidly communicate across regulatory and client organizations, GES set up a rapid process to scan and transmit field notes and data into an approved database within 24 hours of each monitoring rotation.
GES’ team approach and its comprehensive rapid response and safety program eased the way to implementing a solution that addressed stakeholder concerns. GES worked around the clock to minimize impacts via emergency response actions within a multidisciplinary consulting and contractor team. Within 13 hours of the release, responders initiated water-quality sampling from surface water and groundwater well sources, ecological monitoring activities, air-quality monitoring, and soil monitoring. Vacuum trucks were deployed to capture and remove accumulated water on the pad. The analysis of data collected in the days and weeks following the event indicated minimal environmental impact. The impacts that did occur were localized, of short duration, and confined to surface waters surrounding the site. There were no ecological impacts to nearby surface waters or any impacts noted to nearby or regional water wells. By responding and reaching out quickly, safely, and effectively, GES was able to help the client maintain its responsible and respectful relations with the community and regulators.