Anadarko shuts down 3 wells in neighborhood of Firestone home explosion
May 25, 2017
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Anadarko Petroleum will permanently shut down three oil and gas wells near the Firestone subdivision where a home exploded this past month.
Officials announced the shutdown to the Oak Meadows subdivision Homeowners Association late Wednesday.
Investigators determined a severed 1-inch gas flow line — that would normally be used to power an oil and gas separator that separates product from water at the wellhead — was responsible for leaking methane into the basement of the home that exploded. The explosion killed two men and severely injured a woman. The flow line was considered abandoned, so officials do not know why it was still connected to a well head 178 feet away from the home with the valve in the "on" position. The well, drilled in 1993, was turned off for all of 2016. Anadarko, which acquired the well in a 2014 asset swap with Noble Energy, turned the well back on in January. The home was built in 2015.
Immediately following the explosion, Anadarko shut in 3,000 older vertical wells for inspections and repair, but the state added another caveat for all oil and gas operators: inspect and document all flow lines from wells, producing or not, that lie within 1,000 feet of an occupied structure and fix any needed repairs. They have until the end June to do all of the work.
Anadarko officials have since committed to snipping all 1-inch flow lines at those 3,000 vertical wells across its asset base in Weld County. The company has been using electric separators on newer technology installed on horizontal wells for years. The older vertical wells were not equipped with such technology. They said they will snip off the ends of the lines and plug them with cement.
In addition to shutting in the wells, the company also plans to provide natural gas detectors to all residents of the subdivision if they want one. Naturally occurring methane is not treated with odorant and cannot be detected without such a device.
Shutting in the three wells in the Oak Meadows neighborhood, however, should assuage fears, as the wells will not be operating.
Officials said those three wells were inspected, and deemed to be in good operating condition. But they will be shut in because of the sensitivity involving their proximity to homes.