CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An oil well that's leaking natural gas in east-central Wyoming could be plugged soon.

Chesapeake Energy says the work could begin as early as Thursday morning.

A blowout at the well on Tuesday prompted 50 residents outside of Douglas to evacuate their homes amid concern that the gas could explode. Sixty-seven residents were asked to leave, but 17 decided to stay in their homes.

Chesapeake Energy says air sampling results around the site remain normal. It says residents can return home if they'd like or they can continue to stay in hotel rooms at the company's expense.

The well is in the Niobrara  formation, a deep oil deposit beneath Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska where drilling has increased over the past two years.