Residents living within the evacuation radius of a natural gas well blowout south of Eunice, LA, returned to their homes after workers finally capped the well Thursday, ending a nine-day dilemma.
Black Creek Drilling, was boring the well Feb. 25 when workers suddenly lost control of its pressure. A type of lubricant used to assist drilling and seal the gas within the well failed in the process. The colorless and odorless gas flowed into the atmosphere, necessitating the evacuation of 20 homes within a 1.5-mile radius.
It is unknown why that process failed or how much gas escaped from the well, located just south of the Cleco Power Plant in the Acadia Parish side of Eunice.
Workers with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Wild Well Control spent the weekend preparing the capping process and all week completing it, said Trooper Stephen Hammons with Louisiana State Police.
“Thankfully, there were no injuries from the time of the incident to the time it was capped,” he said.
Hammons said residents ended up accompanied by DEQ employees, who inspected the air quality in homes before they could occupy them again.
All roadways closed following the blowout also reopened.
Black Creek Drilling, based out of Columbus, Texas, issued a statement:
“This afternoon, we received word that the well had been secured to a level that has provided for the return of the displaced residents to their homes, opening of the roads, and all other routines returning to normal.
“We regret the inconvenience related to this unfortunate, unforeseeable event and we will continue our communication with all interested parties related to any outstanding issues. We sincerely thank the specialists at Wild Well Control for their assistance and for the extraordinary performance and cooperation demonstrated by our local and state authorities.”