Gas well emergencies are real; don’t dismiss them

Gas well emergencies are real; don’t dismiss them by Star-Telegram, March 26, 2011
Note to Rusty Ward, Carrizo Oil & Gas vice president of regulatory affairs: Whenever there is a malfunction at one of your company’s wells like the one that happened near two schools in Mansfield on Friday, take it very seriously. …. “There was never any danger to a kid or residents.” That’s a little too dismissive. It’s always dangerous when gas leaks from one of the hundreds of wells near Tarrant County neighborhoods and schools. Initial reports from Carrizo and fire officials said corrosive sand in the pipeline of a newly producing well caused a small rupture in a valve and allowed water and natural gas to escape. Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson, whose personnel were called to the site to assist Mansfield firefighters, said primary and secondary safety valves failed before a third valve finally shut off the high-pressure leak after about 20 minutes. … “This kind of stuff happens. You will have choke valves that will fail,” he said. … Crowson takes such things very seriously. He recently persuaded the Arlington City Council to approve a gas well emergency preparedness and response plan. The city will charge gas companies $2,397 per well to pay for part of the plan. With that money, Arlington will create positions for a new fire captain, a gas well inspector and six additional firefighters, as well as pay for their specialized training in dealing with gas well emergencies. Separately, the city will pay for that kind of training for 42 additional firefighters. The idea is to draw up emergency action plans for each of the about 300 well sites in Arlington.

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