Worker suffers serious burns in tank fire at oil and gas drilling operation in west Greeley
May 8, 2017
A flash fire at an oil and gas drilling site early Monday in west Greeley seriously injured one person and caused about $1,000 in damage, according to a Greeley Fire Department news release.
Greeley firefighters got the call at 5:54 a.m. Monday, and arrived to find a 3,000-gallon tank of production water on fire. Firefighters closed an open lid on the tank, eliminating the fire's oxygen supply and stopping the fire, according to the release.
The production water had been used in the well fracturing process, according to the release.
A contract worker at the site, which is operated by Synergy Resources Corporation, suffered serious burn injuries and was taken by ambulance to North Colorado Medical Center. Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental, resulting from vapors escaping the tank, according to the release. The department's release called the vapor release a normal process, adding that the vapors settled low to the ground due to weather conditions. The vapors then came into contact with heat and flame from an engine backfiring on a portable power generator, according to the release.
Mike Eberhard, chief operating officer for operations for Synergy, said the company has notified all relevant regulatory agencies, and is cooperating with the investigation.
"First and foremost, our concerns are for the injured contractor," Eberhard said.
Eberhard said drilling was complete at the site, and workers were doing completions, which means preparing the site for production. Eberhard said the company has shut down operations at the site while the investigation continues, and operations won't resume until it's determined to be safe to do so.
The same Synergy drilling site reported a drilling fluid spill totaling five barrels in the March 24 spill report, saying it was caused by the unintentional release from a rupture in the hose between the mud pumps and the drilling rig.