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Company plugs blown Wyoming oil well leaking gas

Associated Press Modified: April 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm •  Published: April 27, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Workers at a blown oil well in eastern Wyoming took advantage of changing winds Friday to plug the well with mud and end a powerful, three-day eruption of potentially explosive natural gas.

The operation to stem the air pollution — not to mention the risk of an explosion at a multimillion-dollar drilling rig — began at about 9:30 a.m. By 11 a.m. the flow of gas had stopped, according to Tom Doll, supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Workers continued to pump mud down the well throughout the day but were wrapping up toward the evening. Meanwhile, cleanup of spilled oil-based drilling mud got under way.

The well belonged to Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy. It just recently was drilled and extended more than three miles vertically and horizontally under the rolling prairie.

Houston-based well control company Boots & Coots and parent company Halliburton pumped mud down the well bore through steel lines.

The blowout happened Tuesday afternoon. Methane gas roared from the ground at the drilling site five miles northeast of Douglas, population 6,100. The nearest home is over a mile away.

The blowout pushed drilling mud to the surface, and clouds of gas blurred the horizon. Authorities issued an evacuation advisory to 67 people in homes within two and a half miles of the well, and 50 people heeded it.

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