BRITISH COLUMBIA

Workers unused to natural gas wells blamed for fiery blowout in northern B.C.

03/08/2013 11:43 EST | Updated 05/08/2013 05:12 EDT
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - Inadequate training is getting most of the blame for a fiery gas well blowout that destroyed a Suncor rig in northeastern B.C.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has released its report examining the March 9, 2012 incident at a Suncor (TSX:SU) natural gas rig 20 kilometres north of Hudson's Hope.

The report lists a lack of well control procedures as the main cause, noting the crew had received specialized training at the site, but the workers' primary experience was with heavy oil wells in eastern Alberta.

According to the report, because the crew was unfamiliar with deep drilling, high pressure natural gas wells workers defaulted to previous heavy oil well training when a dangerous situation developed at the B.C. rig.

Everyone had been evacuated and there were no injuries, but the rig was destroyed in the blowout and resulting fire when pressure in the pipes skyrocketed and workers first shut down the well, but then restarted the flow, in hopes of relieving the load.

Suncor says it has developed a training course specific to the natural gas wells of northeastern B.C., complying with orders to ensure all staff in the region are properly trained. (MooseFM)