Successful control measures at PANARCTIC OIL LIMITED's wild burning gaswell on KING CHRISTIAN ISLAND in the Arctic Islands has to be the best news generated by the oil industry in the past number of months. The most optimistic individual in regard to control of this well had to be Panarctic President Charles Hetherington. and word via radio that the well was brought under control at weekend is welcome information indeed. Apparently final control measures permanently, plugging the well bore at the wildwell are still underway. As noted in the following official release from Panarctic more elaborate details on the control will be announced in the near future. The report from company president is as follows:
"Panarctic's King Christian D-18 well blowing wild since October 25th has been brought under control. In a message radioed from the site today, Mr. Charles R. Hetherington, President of Panarctic expressed satisfaction that killing of the well was a complete success with the gas flow being cut off.
Mr. Hetherington did not elaborate on the exact procedures used but stated that details of these will be made public as soon as possible.
The Company had formulated several alternative approaches to the complex operation with specialists on site to make immediate decisions should problems arise.
There was little precedent for several of the techniques being employed in a hostile environment of total darkness, with temperatures ranging to 50 degrees below zero. Panarctic's King Christian D-18 well was the Company's seventh wildcat in a continuing program of exploration above the Arctic Circle."
Today's front-page map of the segment of the ARCTIC ISLANDS under active exploration pinpoints the location of the King Christian well, along with all previous and current drilling projects on the High Arctic.
Although there are only four projects now underway including the control well at King Christian, Panarctic's driller on Amund Ringnes, and the pair of Sun Oil Company operated wells, one on Melville Island and the other on Bathhurst Island, plans are now being finalized for several more wells later this year. As previously announced Elf Oil Exploration & Production Canada Ltd. is awaiting improved light conditions to commence flying its drill rig from the recently abandoned Wilkins project on Mackenzie King Island a short distance southwest to an yet unannounced located on Prince Patrick Island. The rig move is scheduled to take place in late February to allow a very early March spud dam on this operator's third Arctic venture. Upon completion of the Elf well on Prince Patrick the Gustavson Drilling rig is scheduled to drill a well on the same island for BP Oil & Gas Ltd. The BP well is expected to get underway in May.
Late February, when there will be a limited number of daylight hours in the Arctic, will also see a rig moved onto Vanier Island on behalf on BP Oil & Gas for early spring drilling operations. This rig has been contracted from Gustavson Drilling. Still another drilling rig is scheduled to be moved to the Arctic Islands in the spring of this year. This time it will be a new unit owned by the CommonwealthHi Tower Arctic Joint Venture team and it will be contracted for a two-year period to Panarctic Oils. This unit will apparently be flown to King Christian Island to proceed with evaluation of the geological prospect on that island that lead to the blow out and wildwell. The original drilling plans on King Christian were to drill a 10,000-feet probe for testing of prospective oil and gas zones through the Triassic and possibly into the top of the Permian. This plans was of course delayed by the blow out in October of last year.
Panarctic also has plans for movement of another rig into the Islands, which will bring its compliment of contracted drilling rigs to four, and this additional unit will be moved to Fosheim Peninsula on the west side of Ellesmere Island, where the firm has already set up camp and stockpiled equipment and supplies. It will be recalled that the stockpiling took place in August of last year when the convoy of supply ships moved into the Arctic. This move was in preparation for drilling later this year. Come March 1st the Adeco Drilling operated unit will be flown into the Ellesmere location, at the present time this new unit is being riggedup at Edmonton for final shakedown before its trip north.
There is every likelihood that two or three other rigs will be moved into various parts of the Islands in 1971 but no firm plans by prospective operators have been announced as yet. Rumors are that Deminex may advance to drilling stages in its exploration program on Banks Island and Texaco Exploration and Dome Petroleum Limited are also talked of as having early drilling plans in the Arctic.