Sidebar: Separate case required AOGCC hearing
On April 7, Alaska Superior Court Judge Herman Walker Jr. remanded Other Order 151 to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, ordering it to fix a date for a hearing on Hollis French’s petition on waste.
This case involved a petition by French for a hearing on a case of waste from BP well DS02-03B, where there was a gas release following mechanical failure. The commission denied French’s request for a hearing and he appealed to Superior Court.
The judge sided with French, saying that by statute the commission is required to fix a date for a hearing, provide notice of the hearing, hold the hearing and issue an order.
The commission held the hearing June 23.
French reviewed the legal issues around the hearing and said he didn’t think there was any doubt that there was an uncontrolled gas release at the well and said waste should have been the first thing the commission dealt with, not the last.
The issue arises out of mechanical integrity issues at Prudhoe Bay wells, the subject of the commission’s Other Order 149.
The order, as amended April 1, 2019, noted that over 18 months BP Exploration (Alaska), the Prudhoe Bay field operator, “experienced sudden well head rise on two Drillsite 2 wells - DS 02-03B (April 2017) and DS 02-02A (December 2018). Each incident resulted in permanent damage to surface casing and the flow tree assembly when the wellhead rose abruptly and impacted the well house. In a third incident on March 30, 2017, an injection well, L5-13, failed during a mechanical integrity test resulting in permanent damage to the casing strings. In all three incidents well bore fluids were released at the surface.”
Other Order 149, as amended, is the commission’s instructions to BPXA on dealing with the mechanical integrity issues.
A situation report issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on the 2017 incident said the team responding to the venting of gas from a well on Drill Site 2 of the Prudhoe Bay oil field succeeded in killing the well and thus achieving control of hydrocarbons escaping from the wellhead. The team killed the well by pumping salt water containing potassium chloride and mixed with methanol into the well, thus offsetting the upward pressure that had been driving gas from the well (see story in April 23, 2017, issue of Petroleum News).
- KRISTEN NELSON