Apache feels kick at GOM well

Apache shifts Cecil Provine rig to location

Rowan Cecil Provine rigApache to move Rowan's Cecil Provine drilling rig to location for possible relief well (Image: Rowan)

Apache evacuated 15 workers after experiencing a kick from an abnormally pressured gas zone during drilling operations at Main Pass 295 in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced on 14 February 2013. The incident occured on 5 February while the Ensco 87 rig was operating in 218ft of water. The well is currently shut-in.

"When the initial well control event occurred, Apache successfully activated the blowout preventer to prevent gas from flowing to the surface," the US Bureau of Environmental Enforcement said in an online statement. "The underground flow was detected through additional testing."

Apache said diagnostic procedures indicated an underground migration from the bottom of the well (8,261 ft) to another sand formation at 1,100 ft. Well control company Boots and Coots are working to kill the well.

Plans are in place to move Rowan's Cecil Provine drilling rig to the location, 50 miles east of Venice, Louisiana, in the event that a relief well is necessary.

No injuries were reported; Apache said 50 people remain onboard the rig.

"We evacuated non-essential personnel from the rig, and notified the government," Apache said in an online statement. "Safety and equipment procedures have worked as designed and tested."

Both BSEE and Apache confirmed that divers did not find a breach on the seafloor. No bubbles have been viewed on the surface.

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