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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has released a report on the 2017 well fire at a facility owned by Todd Energy near Wonowon.

On December 3, 2017, workers heard a loud bang followed by a gas release from a well site north of Wonowon. Only 83 seconds after the gas release, a fire started at the facility.

The report released by the OGC suggests the incident was caused by human error when installing the bull plug on the north casing flange of the wellhead. The report says “Had the threads of the bull plug been fully engaged in the north casing flange, it is unlikely that well control would have been lost.”

“The investigation was not able to identify who installed the bull plug in the north casing flange or when it was installed. Based on interviews, the bull plug may have been installed within 24 hours of when the incident occurred, but this could not be verified.”

The fire started on December 3, and it wasn’t until December 22, 2017, when the incident was over, and crews were stood down. A total of 36 people were working on the site at the time of the incident, and thankfully no one was injured.

The report says the collection of evidence was difficult due to the fire and the length of the incident. “Physical evidence recovered from the site included the wellhead from the ‘0’ well (the first of five wells on the property), a two-inch bull plug that was found at the base of the wellhead and the backplate of the pressure gauge that was installed on the well. The backplate of the pressure gauge was recovered shortly after the incident by TECL (Todd Energy) and was subsequently misplaced during the emergency response effort.“

Bull plug recovered from base of the ‘0’ well showing damage on first two threads. – OGC

The Oil and Gas Commission has directed Todd Energy to develop a procedure to ensure wellhead components are assembled by competent personnel and that connections are inspected and documented before being pressurized. The Commission says Todd Energy has already implemented a wellhead checklist.

The report also says Todd Energy must do ongoing monitoring of groundwater to show that remediation from the fire has been completed.

A copy of the event timeline and the full report are below.

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