ALBERTA

Alberta Gas Well Blowout Still Not Capped

09/23/2015 03:43 EDT | Updated 09/23/2015 03:59 EDT
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

FOX CREEK, Alta. — Workers in northern Alberta are still fighting to control a blowout at a well that has been venting toxic sour gas and other chemicals since Monday.

A spokesman for well owner Encana (TSX:ECA) says crews are opening a second route to the site, located 18 kilometres from the community of Fox Creek.

Jay Averill says that will give crews more room to work and let them onto the site more efficiently.

Peter Murchland of the Alberta Energy Regulator said they were notified of the blowout about 2 p.m. on Monday by Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA).

He said the situation will continue to be assessed to see if it changes.

"The information we have to date indicates the well is still in an uncontained or blowout state,'' Murchland said. "My assumption is ... their operations folks are working every hour into the night to ensure they stop the flow of natural gas.''

Averill says monitoring data shows levels of poisonous hydrogen sulphide are well beneath those that would pose a health risk.

The province's energy regulator says waterways or wildlife have not been affected.

An investigation will begin once that the well is capped, Averill said.

Murchland said there is no predictable timeline for that to happen.

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