California: Suspected methane leak destroys home in explosion, injures two people inside, seriously damages house next door; Gas levels too high to safely investigate, source unknown: “The methane could be from abandoned oil wells under the home or nearby oil fields”

Investigators suspect methane leak in Signal Hill house explosion, fire official says by Valerie Osier, November 20, 2020, Long Beach Post News

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the explosion that destroyed an Ohio Avenue home in Signal Hill, but they suspect it might be a methane leak, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department official.

The explosion rocked the neighborhood the evening of Nov. 5. It blew out every window of the home where it happened, cracked the structure and virtually gutted it. The two people inside both narrowly escaped with minor injuries, according to the homeowner. The house next door was also severely damaged by the blast, which authorities initially attributed to a natural gas explosion.

On Friday, Capt. Steve Sparks, from the Los Angeles County Fire Department arson unit, said the house is still red-tagged, meaning it’s uninhabitable and dangerous to be inside, so the investigation is limited so far.

“We only got about 15 minutes at the residence before the readings were so high that it was unsafe and we had to close it back up,” Sparks said.

While investigators think it’s a methane leak, no one has confirmed that or determined a possible source of the gas, he said. His team is waiting for it to be safe to conduct an investigation at the home, but it’s not clear how long it will take for the methane to dissipate, especially if they don’t know where it’s coming from. The county hazardous materials team is also investigating.

Sparks’ team also checked nearby homes for methane and found the readings there were at zero, he said.

The methane could be from abandoned oil wells under the home or nearby oil fields, Sparks said, but he noted that with new building codes, there’s less of a chance there is an oil well underneath the home. The house sits across from an oil field with active and inactive oil wells leased by Signal Hill Petroleum, Shell and other individuals, according to the California Geologic Energy Management Division.

The homeowner, Kumar Barot, said that he and his family had smelled something like gas or oil for months before the explosion and called Signal Hill Petroleum and the gas department in Long Beach to investigate. They both came out two weeks prior to the blast but couldn’t find the source of the problem.

Methane by itself is odorless, but depending on the amount and what it’s mixed with, it can smell like sewer gas or natural gas. In large quantities, methane is highly flammable and anything from static electricity to a stove to a water-heater pilot light could’ve triggered the explosion, Sparks said.

The day after the explosion, workers from Signal Hill Petroleum were taking readings of naturally occurring gas under the street.

“They got mixed readings, but nothing catastrophic at that point,” spokeswoman Alex Rothwell said.

The company is cooperating with all the agencies that are investigating, which include the Long Beach gas department, the county, the city of Signal Hill and insurance companies. Rothwell said she did not immediately have much information to share about the investigation because other agencies are taking the lead.

A spokesperson for the city of Signal Hill could not be reached Friday, as they are furloughed.

Refer also to (just a tiny sampling, lots more deadly destructive oil & gas industry leaking methane mishaps):

2020 06 16: The biggest con ever? Millions of abandoned wells enabled by politicians, regulators & courts. Oil, gas ‘n frac industry rapes, profits ‘n runs, hangs the public with clean up, a climate menace & endless health harms & cruelty

2020 03 13: Firestone, Weld Co, Colorado record fine by more than 11 times for industry’s leaking methane caused home explosion killing two, injuring two others. COGCC seeking $18.25 Million against Kerr McGee, subsidiary of Anadarko most recently sold to Occidental Petroleum

A home explosion in Firestone Monday, April 17, 2017 killed two and sent two people to the hospital. Dennis Herrera/ Special to The Denver Post

2019: Louisiana Desoto Parish, Frac’ing Haynesville Shale Problems: Gas eruptions; methane, ethane and benzene in aquifer and drinking water

2019 06 27: Oil company Anadarko’s quick secret settlement with families in Firestone Colorado home explosion that killed two, injured two and damaged a neighbouring home later bought by Anadarko; Investigation found Anadarko guilty, not nature

2017 08 15: Legal matters: Fracking the golf course. Ask Indian Hills Golf Course, Lambton Shores, Ontario: Did nature, waste injection, gas storage or fracking causing massive natural gas geysers and erupting greens in 2015? Two municipalities declared state of emergency, Golf Course had to shut down, pay to investigate and clean up

2017 03 06: Cody Murray & family still waiting on Texas energy regulator after their methane contaminated water well exploded in 2014, injuring Cody, his daughter and others. Murrays expect to be in trial by October 2017, three years after the explosion. Compare to Ernst lawsuit in it’s 10th year, nowhere near discovery yet, never mind trial

2017 05 25: Firestone Colorado: Much larger pocket of industry’s explosive gas discovered after 3,000 Anadarko wells shut down because of fatal home explosion caused by Anadarko’s leaking methane

2017 05 01: Investigation finds Anadarko guilty, not Nature in Firestone Colorado home explosion: Investigators say industry’s gas migrated into home from abandoned flow line attached to energy well, killed two, injured two. How many homes globally have industry’s methane migrating into them, putting lives at risk with regulators everywhere looking the other way?

2017 09 02: Dimock Pennsylvania: In ‘Gasland’ community, Cabot Oil & Gas continues to refuse to fix the aquifer the company contaminated with dangerous levels of methane but buys out contaminated homes, demolishing them, while blaming nature.

2017 08 31: Saskatchewan Geological Survey Geologist to Ernst in 2006: Methane detectors will not protect you; If they warn of industry’s natural gas leaking into your home or venting from water taps, it’s usually too late to get out safely. Weld County Colorado offering explosive gas detectors to residents for free

2017: Research finds CBM (CSG) responsible for contaminating Condamine River with bubbling flammable methane, “methane emissions from below ground could increase significantly”

2016: Harmful Levels Benzene, CO2 Detected at MidWest School Surrounded by 744 Active & Abandoned Oil Wells Within 1 Mile Radius, Including CO2 Injection Wells for Enhanced Recovery by Anadarko, Now Owned by Fleur de lis

2015 02 27: Calmar families asked to leave homes again in effort to fix Imperial Oil’s methane leak, Ordered fix made the leak worse

2011 01 05 More than 50 per cent new shale wells leaking in Quebec, Talisman says this is normal

The companies were ordered to fix the leaks, they tried, all failed – groundwater was contaminated with dangerous levels of methane, nature – of course – was blamed.

2015: Another frac mess! 200 Evacuated, Nearly 70 homes damaged in Marinza, Albania; Canadian firm Bankers Petroleum Ltd (has steam injection pilot project there), was at 500 metres depth when “volcanos” of gas, mud (chemicals?) and water erupted

2014 12: Trouble Beneath Our Feet: Leaking Energy Wells a Burning Issue; Big problem, Expensive to Fix, Impossible to Completely Stop

2014 08: Gas Minister’s Leaky Well Comments ‘Ignorant,’ Scientist Says
Cornell engineer takes issue with Coleman’s claim that BC is leak-free

2014 07: Are Suspended/Abandoned Oilfield Wells Dangerous? Oil Field Worker Critical After Being Burned in Robertson County Explosion

2014 06: Canada’s 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: ‘Threat to Public’
Badly sealed oil and gas wellbores leak emissions barely monitored
, experts find

2015 Geofirm Dusseault Report on 500,000 leaking wells in Canada, Figure 2.8 'Possible wellbore leakae pathway'

Five ways gas wellbores can leak. Source: “Towards a Road Map for Mitigating the Rates and Occurrences of Long-Term Wellbore Leakage.”

2014 06: Two-tiered Alberta: Urban, but not rural, home owners and businesses get inspections and protections from leaking abandoned energy wells and stratigraphic test holes: St. Albert residents sitting on abandoned oil and gas wells

2014 05: Shale Gas Plagued By Unusual Methane Leaks, Scientists investigate high levels of damaging gas released in fracked areas

2014 06: Abandoned Oil Wells Spouting Significant Levels of Methane: Study
Princeton researcher measures leaks that risk groundwater, and increasingly the climate

2014 03: Leak in 100 year old shallow natural gas well caused serious methane migration into Waynesburg Medical Center; Methane build-up rendered the center uninhabitable!


2011 12: Fracking Contamination ‘Will Get Worse’: Alberta Expert, Tighter regulations to protect groundwater needed, says U of Alberta geochemist

Muehlenbachs, who has been fingerprinting leaking gases since 1994, says that hydraulic fracking, which injects water, chemicals and sand into rock formations at high pressures, may create more leaks in wellbores overtime. (As industry searches for deeper and more extreme hydrocarbons, it must blast open tight rocks with more brute force over larger land bases than conventional operations.)

“They’ll frack each well up to 20 times. Each time the pressure will shudder and bang the pipes in the wellbore. The cement is hard and the steel is soft. If you do it all the time you are going to break bonds and cause leaks. It’s a real major issue. “ …

Asked if Alberta’s oil patch regulator or B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission had approached one of the world’s leading experts on how to fingerprint leaking gases from gas formations, Muehlenbachs replied quickly.

“No,” said Muehlenbachs. “No one pays any attention to me. The Alberta regulators are only interested in optimizing production.”

2012 11: Anthony Ingraffea: Fluid Migration mechanisms due to faulty well design and / or construction

2011 07: Calmar residents know the drill as company works to cap abandoned well

2011 04: Calmar Homeowners Suing Town of Calmar and Aztec Home Sales Inc over Leaking Wells

2011 04: Imperial Oil leaking natural gas wells a nightmare for homeowners near Edmonton

2010 12: Crying foul over Calmar gas well, Calmar residents upset about lack of compensation, loss of property values

2010 06: Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach demands answers to why Calmar homes put in danger and built over abandoned gas well

2010 10: Leaking gas well forces families out in Calmar neighbourhood

2006 05: Bruce Jack Private water well explosion at Spirit River, Alberta

2006: Ernst’s drinking water after Encana/Ovintiv illegally frac’d the aquifers that supply her well (even after Bruce Jack and two industry gas in water testers were seriously injured and hospitalized from industry’s leaking methane in Jack’s well water exploding, Alberta authorities told Ernst and her neighbours their dangerously contaminated water was safe to live with. Cases closed, no help provided, the end.)

2005 01: Investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the explosion that destroyed the Rosebud water tower and sent a Wheatland County employee to hospital after Encana illegally frac’d the community’s drinking water aquifers. The community had to pay nearly $700,000.00 for a new water reservoir. Encana kept frac’ing in fresh water zones on endless more gas wells, raping out profits, lying, lying some more, and 14 years later changed its dirty name to Ovintiv to run away chicken shit to the USA.

2005 01: EnCana Corporation Site Investigation Report by Hydrogeological Consultants Ltd.

The 2005 report by HCL (scan of a large file, takes time to load) shows Encana injected 18 million litres of nitrogen based frac fluid directly into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers. In total, more than 70 million litres were injected into Encana’s 5-14 gas well under high pressure.

After data collected by HCL indicated Encana had contaminated Rosebud area water wells, Encana cemented shut the 5-14 well shut (apparently to prevent data collection on the illegal gas well), which made the nitrogen and methane migration problem much worse.

On Page 22 of their report, HCL dismissed the high nitrogen levels in Rosebud drinking water, by claiming it “is similar to the nitrogen concentration of a gas sample from a water well completed in the upper part of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation southwest of Calmar, Alberta.”

2004 The truth starts coming out:

2002: More damning industry research kept from the public:

2001 Industry’s leaked gas in Kansas that killed two people in their home:

1995 & 1996: Industry and CAPP kept this vital research secret. A decade later, Ernst found and bought the report from CAPP, for $88.00. It was confidential report, Ernst made it public. We have a right to know we are living in risk of blowing up in our own homes, and from our own drinking water because of industry’s greedy shoddy work practices, leaks, law violations, pollution, secrets and lies.

1993 Husky Oil’s Gas Migration Research Update (Husky kept their research from the public too)

1993 Husky on how serious and big a problem industrys gas migration is Slide from Ernst presentations

1992 07 27: Cause of the 1985 Ross Store Explosion and Other Gas Ventings, Fairfax District, Los Angeles

Setting nature up to take the blame.

1985 03 25: Gas Explosion Shatters Fairfax Store; 23 Hurt

1985 03 24: California: Ross Dress for Less Explodes

Slides from Ernst presentations

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