This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – Aug. 27, 2012Aug 29th, 2012 | By Mark | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
The ongoing wave of natural gas explosions continued to take a deadly toll around the United States since our last column. Here’s a brief tally of the “highlights,” if you will.
An explosion at a natural gas drilling rig near Fort Lupton, Colorado, killed one man and injured three others on Wednesday, Aug. 15, around 1 p.m. The man who was killed, identified later as Bryan Wallace, 60, of Evanston, Wyoming, died from, “multiple blunt-force injuries that occured when pressurized gas was released as workers prepared one of three wells on Encana Corp.’s Davis well pad to begin pumping,” according to a recent media account published by the Denver Post.
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A natural gas leak at a Corning home in the Finger Lakes area of New York sent two people to the hospital with serious, life threatening injuries on Friday, Aug. 3, according to media accounts of the incident.
The house was reportedly reduced to a smoking pile of rubble, and the blast also damaged the house across the street and blew out windows in houses throughout the neighborhood.
From the (Corning) Leader.com:
The brick walls of the home blew out sideways, and the roof went straight up in the air, Trentanelli said.
After the explosion, a group of bystanders dug away the rubble and pulled the Youngs, who’d been yelling for help, out of the basement. Emergency responders arrived moments later and the Youngs were later airlifted to Rochester.
A natural gas leak in a west Los Angeles condominium complex triggered a natural gas explosion on the evening of Monday, Aug. 27, that shook the building and injured one man. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, gas from an appliance in a ground-floor unit migrated throughout the building, until it was ultimately ignited by a spark from the unit above.
A natural gas well near Sycamore, West Virginia, exploded on Friday, Aug. 17, seriously injuring three workers and igniting a massive fireball that preceded a blaze that burned for more than an hour, according to recent media reports describing the incident.
The well is owned by Antero Resources and the injured workers are employed by Antero’s drilling contractor, Hall Drilling, of Ellenboro, West Virginia. The West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas has cited Antero for “failure to maintain well control,” according to a report from WBOY-TV, which also noted that the penalty for that violation is still under review and that Antero was allowed to resume “normal operations” at the well several days after the citation was issued on Aug. 22.
Four workers were burned, three of them severely, in a flash fire that erupted at a natural gas transmission plant about 60 miles west of Casper, Wyoming, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, according to recent media reports.
The fire occurred at the Lost Cabin natural gas transmission facility owned and operated by ConocoPhilips.
From the Casper Tribune:
The plant had been idle since Aug. 1 for planned maintenance, a Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality spokesman told the Reuters news service.
An explosion and fire destroyed part of the plant in 2010, triggering an early morning computerized call to residents warning them to evacuate the area. There were no injuries in the fire, which originated in the second of three processing units, or trains.
The Lost Cabin plant strips carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds, specifically hydrogen sulfide, from natural gas out of deep natural wells in the Lysite area. It was placed into operation in 1995 and expanded in 1998 and 1999.
In Bradford County, Pennsylvania, area residents continue to be plagued by contaminated water linked to natural gas drilling operations conducted by Chesapeake Energy months after the gas leaks were identified and confirmed by state investigators, according to a recent media account.
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From the StateImpact.com story:
The Leightons live about a half-mile from Chesapeake Energy’s Morse well pad, which state regulators suspect began leaking methane May 19, when pressure forced natural gas through perforations in the well’s pipes during a repair job aimed at replacing a faulty piece of equipment. Since then, mysterious flammable puddles of gas have been bubbling up throughout the Leightons’ property, and methane has been seeping into their water well.
The gas has traveled from the Chesapeake well to the surface through a process called methane migration. It happens naturally, but drilling operations — especially wells with faulty cement or steel piping — can speed up the process, and provide an elevator of sorts for methane gas to rise to the surface and into people’s water wells.
In Moss Point, Mississippi, public officials are considering shutting down the city’s natural gas distribution system, which they say poses a clear risk to public safety due to the extraordinary number of leaks throughout the pipeline network.
From a story carried by GulfLive.com:
A gas leak survey in April 2011 found about 800 leaks in Moss Point’s natural gas system, 48 percent of which were large enough to be immediately hazardous to life or property. Wiley Walker, a pipeline safety investigator with the southern district of the Mississippi Public Service Commission, said at the time he had never seen a system in such bad shape in his 40 years in the business.
A hearing on whether or not to shut down the system has been set for Sept. 7.
And remember, this round-up of natural gas leaks and natural gas explosions is by no means comprehensive. These incidents occur with such astonishing regularity and in such numbers that to chronicle them all would require far more space than we can allot here.