NEW YORK Feb 16 Natural gas from a well being
drilled by Apache Corporation in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico
has flowed underground, leading U.S. regulators to order the
company to prepare to drill a relief well to control the flow if
necessary, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental
Apache shut in the well on Feb. 5 after it had a "kick" upon
encountering a zone of "abnormally pressured" natural gas while
drilling, the company said in a statement on its website.
A kick commonly refers to a temporary loss of control over
the well due to higher than anticipated pressures being
encountered while drilling, leading to fluids or gas flowing
into the well.
Non-essential personnel have been evacuated from the Ensco
Plc drilling rig Ensco 87 and no gas or oil has leaked
into the Gulf of Mexico, Apache said.
The incident occurred in shallow waters in Main Pass block
295, approximately 50 miles (80.5 km) east of Venice, Louisiana.
Apache is moving another rig it has under contract owned by
drilling firm Rowan Companies Plc to the site to drill a
relief well if necessary to stop the gas from flowing
A relief well is typically used to stop an uncontrolled flow
of gas or fluids from a well when other methods fail.