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  • Vermilion Voice

Orphan Well Open House

Diagram showing long-term gas management infrastructure to be installed in late Semptember. Photos Elaina John

Orphan Well held an open house on September 12 to discuss a long-term strategy for managing methane gas emissions from an abandoned well near a playground in Brennan Subdivision.

The well has been monitored and evaluated thoroughly by Orphan Well and the committee it has formed with various experts such as Alberta Health Services, Golder Associates, Husky Oil, Cenovus Energy and more. Evaluations of the well began in 2013, and it was discovered that a small amount of methane was being released through the soil around the well.

“All of us agreed that the risk around this well is very small,” Project Manager David Marks said.

Marks reports that the well is releasing six to 11 cubic metres of methane a day; an amount which would only run a barbeque for approximately a day, possibly less.

Currently, Orphan Well has a vacuum system set up to allow for the dissipation of the methane in a fenced of area on the secluded Northeast corner of the playground. The vacuum vents the methane out so it can safely and naturally dissipate into the atmosphere.

Current temporary gas management infrastructure.

Orphan Well’s long-term strategy is somewhat more elaborate, and will take up less space than the current fenced off area. On September 21, Orphan Well will begin perforating the well casing to allow for the methane gas to return back into the well, instead of leaking through the surrounding soil. They plan on this project only lasting a few days.

“Hopefully the path of least resistance is the path the gas chooses,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.

When the well is perforated, the piping portion of the vacuum system will be underground, and the system in general will run quieter. The particular method they are using is similar to what is used at gas stations to manage gas emissions.

“We’re very satisfied that this is the best risk solution for this well,” Marks said. “It’s actually a pretty simple operation.”

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