This Week In Natural Gas Leaks and Explosions – April 29, 2013Apr 29th, 2013 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Natural Gas Explosions
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A series of seven explosions destroyed two barges and injured three people on Wednesday, April 24, according to recent media accounts. The barges were carrying a substance called “natural gasoline.” Natural gasoline is not natural gas, i.e. methane in gaseous form; it is instead a natural gas liquid that is either produced at the wellhead via a condensate process or in the natural gas fields using an extraction process, as opposed to the refining process that produces conventional gasoline. Either way it is an extremely volatile and unstable substance unless and until it is blended with something else, such as ethanol.
You can see video of the explosions, caught by an observer, here:
And, as always, it’s been a busy, busy week in traditional natural gas leaks and explosions, so let’s get right to it.
And elderly man in Cranston, Rhode Island, suffered serious burns and other injuries when his house exploded on Saturday, April 26, according to recent media accounts. Investigating authorities attributed the blast to build-up of natural gas in the home. Nearby houses were also damaged in the explosion, although no one else was injured.
A natural gas storage facility in Uinta County, Wyoming, blew up on Sunday, April 20, according to recent media reports. No one was injured in the blast, but the explosion touched off a blaze that burned for nearly 24 hours before fire fighters could get close enough to begin putting it out. Investigating authorities said a faulty safety valve caused the explosion and fire. No word on who owned and operated the plant.
A hydraulic fracturing well in Denton, Texas, owned and operated by Eagleridge Operating, was spewing so much methane and fracking fluid on Friday, April 18, that flights were diverted around the affected area and local residents were evacuated, but Denton Assistant City Manager Lindsay Baker assured inquirers that, “there isn’t much danger.”
Eagleridge Operating was implicated in a case of improperly disposing of fracking fluid in October 2011 when a Denton city inspector caught company personnel pumping used water near a hydraulic fracturing well from a waste pit into a trench that ultimately emptied into a nearby creek.
A natural gas explosion in Dexter, Michigan, killed one man and critically injured another on Monday, April 22, according to a recent media report. The two men were repairing holding tank at the Dexter Utilities wastewater treatment plant when the gas exploded, investigating authorities said.
As usual, this round-up of leaks and explosions is not meant to be comprehensive, only representative of the destruction that occurs on a daily basis across this country. We do not, for example, include incidents that result from excavation or other contractor activities, because if we did, this feature would be far longer than it already is.
Nor do we include natural gas explosions that occur in other countries, which is why we didn’t mention the disaster in Prague or France. But we will note this explosion that occurred in London on the morning of Thursday, April 25. After all, the natural gas distribution system there is operated by National Grid, just like many of the distribution systems here, and there’s the added bonus of some excellent video. Check it out: