Oil and Gas

Oil and gas company sues Erie over odor ordinance violation

ERIE, Colo. – Crestone Peak Resources, the oil and gas company that owns more than 100 wells in Erie, is suing the town over its ordinance allowing complaints over fracking odors.

The company filed the lawsuit in Weld County on Thursday after it was given notice of a violation of the code earlier this month, the company said. Continue reading

Oil field worker injured in Weld Co. pipeline fire dies at Greeley hospital

WELD COUNTY, Colo. – One of the three oil field workers injured in a pipeline fire last Thursday near Galeton died Tuesday at a Greeley hospital.

The worker was identified by the county as 61-year-old George Cottingham of Greeley. His manner and cause of death have yet to be determined pending an autopsy, Weld County Communications Director Jennifer Finch said. Continue reading

Erie town trustees tell angry residents they were unaware of venting near school, launch probe

ERIE, Colo. – At a meeting filled with angry parents, Erie town trustees said Tuesday night they were also unaware that an oil and gas site had been venting fumes into a nearby elementary school until they saw it on the news.

“I was just as alarmed as all the citizens of Erie to hear about this over the weekend—two months after the fact,” said Erie Mayor Tina Harris at Tuesday’s meeting, which comes on the heels of two reports by Denver7 that exposed the venting near Aspen Ridge Preparatory School. Continue reading

Anadarko Petroleum oil tank leak reported near Erie Commons

ERIE, Colo. – An Anadarko Petroleum oil tank started leaking near an Erie Commons well site south of Maxwell Street on Wednesday, the town of Erie reports.

Erie authorities say the leaking oil is being released into a containment area, but have not released further details.

The town said the company would be providing further information in a release report with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Anadarko is the same operator behind a leaking flow line that released methane into the basement of a home in Firestone, causing an explosion that killed two earlier this year.

It is also the parent company of Kerr-McGee, which operates an oil tank battery that exploded about a month later in Weld County, also killing one person.

After the Firestone explosion, the company shut-in 3,000 of its vertical wells for inspection. The company has also been participating in the state-mandated reviews ordered after the Firestone explosion and has so far been in compliance with all the deadlines, even over-reporting in some cases, the COGCC said.

Anadarko and subsidiary Kerr-McGee granted extra month to finish Colorado well audit, make changes

DENVER – Colorado’s oil and gas regulators will allow at least one operator an extra month to plug and abandon thousands of return lines in an ongoing audit of all of the state’s oil and gas wells and flowlines.

Kerr-McGee, which is a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, requested in a June 15 letter to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that the deadline for the second phase of the inspection process—which required operators to test all their flowlines within 1,000 feet of a building for integrity—be extended to July 31.

The company said in addition to meeting the deadlines set forth by Gov. John Hickenlooper and COGCC, that it has “undertaken additional and significant voluntary actions to help residents feel safe in their homes.”

COGCC granted the request and said it was supportive of the extra effort.

“Anadarko is going above and beyond initial requirements and its request comports with updated guidance,” COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman said Friday.

The COGCC updated its notice to operators about the inspection efforts on June 7, and included a clause that said “operators may opt to reconfigure systems to remove existing return or supply gas lines and replace them with on-location wellhead gas or compressed air.”

But it said that the operators who wished to do so had to submit a written request to COGCC on or before June 15—a deadline Kerr-McGee and Anadarko met. COGCC would grant the extensions on a “case-by-case basis,” it said.

Kerr-McGee and Anadarko said they have dedicated at least 370 employees and contractors to the inspection and replacement process.

“As the largest operator in this region, we take our responsibility very seriously,” the letter to COGCC said.

“We continue to make good progress on the portion of Phase 2 requiring integrity testing of all flowlines between a wellhead and production facility within 1,000 feet of a building unit,” the company added.

It said that at this point, “the majority” of the company’s efforts were “focused on the safe and thorough abandonment of approximately 2,00 inactive steel flowlines,” which the company said was “about 15 percent complete” as of June 15.

Operators had been required to report back to the state on the locations of every existing flowline not being actively used and to map the location of active flowlines.

On June 2, COGCC said it had received 129 reports—more than the 116 COGCC had expected.

COGCC also said that it was possible some of the operators have over-reported, noting that at least one large operator gave information for each well and flowline within 1,500 feet of buildings—beyond the 1,000-foot limit.

Hartman said on June 2 that COGCC believed the oil and gas industry was taking compliance with the state’s orders seriously.

Anadarko temporarily shut in 3,000 of its vertical wells and flowlines after an April 17 explosion in Firestone killed two people and severely injured another. A leaking abandoned flowline was found to have caused the explosion after methane gas built up in the home’s basement.

Kerr-McGee was the operator of an oil tank battery that exploded during a construction incident in Mead weeks later, killing one and injuring three others.

Report: Oil and gas explosions, fires may be underreported due to Colorado’s ‘lenient’ guidelines

DENVER – A new research report by Colorado scientists published last month says that statistics on oil and gas explosions and fires in the state may be lacking or underreported because of “lenient” self-reporting guidelines in Colorado.

The study will be published in the July edition of Energy Research & Social Sciences by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Continue reading

Colorado oil, gas regulators say operators ‘appear’ to be taking mandatory review seriously

DENVER – Colorado regulators have received most of the reports detailing the location of above-ground vertical oil and gas well pipes that was required in an order from Gov. John Hickenlooper last month, but it “appears” some small operators have yet to submit their reports, the state oil and gas commission said Friday.

On May 2, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ordered every oil and gas operator in the state to inspect every existing flowline not in active use and to document the location of any active flowline within 1,000 feet of a building.

The notice to report required the companies to map the locations of the lines and report back to the oil and gas commission. The companies also had to be sure that any of their abandoned wells or flowlines had been properly capped and noted. The reports for the active wells were due back to the state by May 30, and integrity tests for active flowlines and compliance with proper abandonment procedures have a June 30 deadline to be completed.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission had received 129 reports from the various operators by the May 30 deadline, Department of Natural Resources communications director Todd Hartman said Friday.

Hartman noted that the 129 reports were actually beyond the 116 COGCC had expected, but said that some of the reports might be duplicates or corrected reports.

He said COGCC has so far processed 80 of the reports, including those from the state’s largest operators, but that the work was time and labor-intensive.

But Hartman also said that “it appears there may be a small number of operators that have yet to submit the required information,” and said COGCC was contacting those operators to be sure they complete the required work.

He also said that it’s possible some of the operators have over-reported, noting that at least one large operator gave information for each well and flowline within 1,500 feet of buildings—beyond the 1,000-foot limit.

The reports received so far include data for flowlines connected with 16,514 wells, Hartman said.

But he added that the “voluminous” data would take time to compile and release, as the state has to cross-check the provided data with existing well information in state databases.

“At this initial stage, the COGCC believes that industry is taking compliance with the order seriously,” Hartman said. “It will take further review, however, to develop firmer details about overall compliance.”

Hickenlooper ordered the mapping of Colorado’s approximately 54,00 wells and their associated flowlines days after Anadarko Petroleum, the company responsible for a leaking flowline that led to a deadly explosion in Firestone, announced it was shutting in thousands of its wells in the state to review and inspect them.

The industry has been even further scrutinized since Hickenlooper’s order after another Anadarko crew suffered casualties in an oil tank battery explosion in Mead, and a Logan County natural gas storage well suffered a blow-out, forcing nearby residents to evacuate before crews could cap it again.

More updates from the DNR and COGCC on the progress of the review are expected in coming weeks.

Questions mount after host of Colorado oil and gas incidents; safety investigations continue

WELD COUNTY, Colo. – Gov. John Hickenlooper says there is currently “no reason to believe” that the circumstances behind Thursday’s deadly explosion at an oil tank battery in Weld County are similar to those that caused a home in Firestone to explode last month, killing two.

The name of the worker who died at the scene of Thursday’s incident at the Anadarko-owned battery is expected to be released later Friday. The death was the third linked to Anadarko-owned oil and gas properties in Colorado in the past two months. Continue reading

Lawsuit: Anadarko defrauded investors with ‘materially false’ info about Firestone explosion risk

DENVER – Anadarko Petroleum, the company responsible for two oil and gas sites whose explosions have killed three people and severely injured four others in Colorado over the past five weeks, now faces accusations that it made “materially false and misleading statements” about the Firestone home explosion that defrauded investors out of money.

An investor named Robert Edgar filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Anadarko Petroleum Company, its CEO, president and chairman, R.A. Walker, and its CFO, Robert Gwin earlier this month in federal court in Texas. Anadarko is based in The Woodlands, Texas—a Houston suburb. Continue reading

Amid calls for review of Colo. wells following explosion, agencies caution against rush to judgment

DENVER – Officials continue to urge people not to jump conclusions as to why a Colorado oil and gas operator shut in 3,000 of its wells following a home explosion in Firestone that killed two men.

The Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District on Friday said it wouldn’t release any further information about the April 17 explosion until it has determined the final cause and origin. Brothers-in-law Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin died in the explosion, which occurred while the two were installing a hot water heater at the home. Continue reading