Anadarko seeks more time to complete state-mandated testing of flow lines | MyWindsorNow.com
Sharon Dunn
sdunn@greeleytribune.com

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Anadarko seeks more time to complete state-mandated testing of flow lines

In this April 18 photo, investigators stand by as debris is removed from a house that was destroyed in a deadly explosion in Firestone on April 17.

Anadarko Petroleum has sought additional time to comply with a state order to complete integrity testing on all of its oil and gas flow lines within 1,000 feet of buildings.

The company sent a letter to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Thursday, seeking additional time to comply.

"The majority of our current ongoing efforts were focused on the safe and thorough abandonment of approximately 2,000 inactive steel flow lines, which is currently about 15 percent complete," the letter states.

The state has given operators until June 30 to complete such testing in the wake of a home explosion in Firestone in April. The explosion was deemed the result of a leaking, and improperly capped abandoned flow line, which seeped gas into the French drains of a home in the Oak Meadows subdivision in Firestone. Two men died in the explosion when they worked on the home's water heater. A woman also was seriously injured in the explosion.

As a result, the COGCC ordered all oil and gas companies in the state to identify and document where their flow lines were, and subsequently complete integrity testing on all operating flow lines by June 30. A potential third phase of the order would allow operators to extend the time to complete the integrity testing if they opted to "reconfigure systems to remove existing return or supply gas lines and replace them with on-location wellhead gas or compressed air."

Anadarko reported early on its intentions to abandon those lines. Per the rule, they had until Thursday to officially request more time.

"COGCC may grant additional time to complete the Phase 3 operations, on a case-by-case basis, based on the number of wells or facilities to be re-plumbed and off-location gas flow lines to be removed," the rule stated.

Todd Hartman, spokesman for the COGCC, said the agency has received a couple of other like requests for more time, and said the COGCC was in support of Anadarko's request.

Anadarko met the May 30 deadline to identify and document all flow lines in its assets, according to a letter penned to the COGCC Thursday. It reported more than 370 employees were working on all the inspections and repairs, as well as abandoning 3,600 of all 1-inch return lines from all of its vertical wells in the basin, per Phase 3 of the order.

Such return lines in older wells were used to provide fuel to separators on site that separate oil, gas and water at the wellhead. Newer technology, such as with horizontal wells, can operate the separators electrically.

"In order to eliminate these return lines and still provide power to the separator equipment, we developed an engineering solution that required a reconfiguration of the wellhead systems," the letter said.

See for yourself

Anadarko has posted this video showing how it is plugging and abandoning old flow lines.