From The Houston Chronicle

A natural gas well belonging to the Norwegian oil giant Equinor remains shut in following a weekend fire at one of its drilling sites in Karnes County.

The fire happened at Equinor’s Neller-Runge 1-Runge 2 lease off FM 885 a few miles south of Runge around 3:45 a.m. Saturday, the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Crews brought the fire under control in about three hours time. No injuries were reported but 11 homes were temporarily evacuated.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva said the blaze is believed to have started by an static electricity discharge aboard a drilling rig belonging to the oilfield service company Nabors.

Located in a rural area of the county, a bright fireball from the blaze created a glow that could be seen for miles in the early morning darkness.

“If you’ve ever seen a rocket take off, it looked like that,” Villanueva said.



Nabors officials could not immediately be reached for comment but Equinor officials told the Houston Chronicle that the site remains shut-in as of Monday.

No pollution or contamination issues were reported from the incident, the Railroad Commission of Texas reported.

Considered one of the top 10 drillers of the Eagle Ford Shale, Equinor has dozens of wells in the Runge area. So far this year, Equinor has filed for 29 drlling permits for projects in Texas. Nearly half of them were in oil-rich Karnes County.

Like the Neller-Runge lease, most of the Norwegian company’s wells off FM 885 target the Sugarkane field of the Eagle Ford geological layer. One well in the area targets the Speary field of the Edwards geological layer.

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