Cook Inlet Energy fined over well pressure at Osprey platform

Cook Inlet Energy has received fines totaling $50,000 from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) — $25,000 for failing to test a new injection well from its Osprey oil platform and another $25,000 for failing to notify AOGCC when that well later showed “significant pressure anomalies,” according to AOGCC’s Monday order issuing the fines.

The Osprey platform, just south of the West Forelands on the west side of Cook Inlet, drills into the offshore Redoubt unit. In 2017 Cook Inlet Energy drilled and hydraulically fractured a sidetrack from one of the platform’s depleted wells. The new sidetrack was meant to pressurize the reservoir with injections of water.

AOGCC mandates that “the mechanical integrity of an injection well must be demonstrated before injection begins” with a test witnessed by AOGCC staff. Cook Inlet Energy’s new well operated approximately six months without this test after it started continuous injections on July 1, 2017, according to AOGCC’s order.

Pressure in the well’s inner annulus — vacant space between a well’s tubing and its steel casing, through which fluids can flow — began to rise about 78 days after injection began. Excess pressure in the inner annulus can cause fluid leaks or ruptures of the tubing.

“The field staff had to bleed it (the inner annulus pressure) down numerous times to keep it below 200 pounds per square inch,” AOGCC’s order states. Testing a theory that fluid from the well tube was entering the annulus and creating pressure, Cook Inlet Energy allowed the pressure to build to 1008 pounds per square inch over 79 days between August and November 2018. By doing so without notifying AOGCC, the order states that Cook Inlet Energy violated a rule requiring companies to notify AOGCC “by the next working day if an injection rate, operating pressure observation, or pressure test indicates pressure communication or leakage in any casing, tubing, or packer.”

Cook Inlet Energy had again bled off the excessive pressure by November 2017, but pressure built up again, reaching a maximum of 590 pounds per square inch, before it notified AOGCC of the issue on December 18.

After the well passed a mechanical integrity test on Dec. 23, 2017, AOGCC concluded the well could safely continue injecting water, subject to monthly reports of its pressure and the installation of automatic shut-in equipment.

“Although no injury to the public occurred, the potential wellbore failure posed an obvious threat to both public health and the environment,” AOGCC’s order states. “… (Cook Inlet Energy’s) failure to comply with fundamental wellbore mechanical integrity testing requirements raises the potential for similar behavior with more serious consequences.”

Reach Ben Boettger at bboettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The badge for the Kenai Police Department (Clarion file)
Walmart briefly evacuated after bomb threat

The investigation is ongoing.

Peninsula Clarion file
Merry voices to fill Kenai chamber

Historical society carolling event returns after hiatus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State officials urge vaccination as omicron spreads in US

Omicron was first identified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 hunter dead, another missing after boat hits rough seas off Whittier

The pair were reportedly hunting on Wednesday on Esther Island in Prince William Sound.

Kenai City Council members James Baisden (left) and Deborah Sounart (right) listen as member Teea Winger (center) speaks in support of legislation opposing government COVID-19 mandates, during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, in Kenai.
Kenai council declares opposition to mask mandates

The statement does not change city code or supersede federal law.

Signage indicates that face masks are required for entry to the Soldotna Public Library on March 25, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The Soldotna City Council voted Wednesday to make mask-wearing optional in city facilities. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Masks recommended, not required in Soldotna city buildings

Council amends measure to make mask-wearing optional

Nick Begich III, seen here in this undated photo, is challenging Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives saying Alaska needs new energy in Washington D.C. (Courtesy photo / Alaskans for Nick Begich)
Nick Begich III touts fiscal conservatism in US House race

GOP candidate challenges Young’s record

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Most Read