Chesapeake Wyoming well leak under control

NEW YORK Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:17pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers curbed a natural-gas leak from a stricken Chesapeake Energy Corp well in Wyoming about three days after a blowout, the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said on Friday.

Boots and Coots, a pressure control company owned by Houston-based Halliburton and contracted by Chesapeake after the well blowout on Tuesday, was pumping drilling mud into the well a day after its efforts were hampered by wind and adverse weather.

The well stopped leaking natural gas earlier on Friday, the Commission said. Chesapeake had lost control while installing a well casing.

"I anticipate that some additional natural gas may be released periodically from the well during the next few days," Tom Doll, state Oil and Gas Supervisor said in a statement.

He added the well will be filled with drilling mud by late afternoon and control operations will continue for the next 24 hours.

Chesapeake and its contractors are applying a process that resembles BP Plc's "Top Kill" effort that failed to stem a deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.

On Thursday, Chesapeake had said wind speeds and direction were unfavorable for it to regain control of the well.

Cleanup of the spill will begin after the natural gas leak is safely controlled and technical experts will inspect the drilling rig and associated equipment over the coming days, Doll added.

He added investigations into what caused the blowout will begin following cleanup and repair work.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake is the No. 2 U.S. natural gas driller. Chesapeake had another natural-gas well blowout in Pennsylvania a year ago.

Chesapeake shares rose 0.97 percent to $17.73 in afternoon trading.

(Editing by Gunna Dickson and David Gregorio and Alden Bentley)

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