The COGCC is tracking 15 flood related spills #COflood

Flooded well site September 2013 -- Denver Post
Flooded well site September 2013 — Denver Post

From the TheDenverChannel.com (Phil Tenser):

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reports the fifteenth release was discovered at a PDC location about a half mile east of Greeley, south of Highway 34. It was discovered since the commission’s Monday report.

Sixteen other sites have evidence of a “minor” oil or gas spill.

Additionally, the COGCC reports a total of 18,060 gallons of “produced water” — water extracted from the Earth along with oil or gas — have spilled from 13 locations. That liquid is regulated by the state and the EPA because of what it may contain.

COGCC teams report they completed evaluations of 991 wells or production facilities covering 80 percent of the flooded area.

From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Noble’s “blanket shutdown” involved wells scattered along the South Platte, Big Thompson and St. Vrain rivers, according to the company. Those rivers swelled to damaging levels after days of rain that started on Sept. 9. Noble employees raced rising waters to reach some well sites and physically shut down the wells themselves. More than 80 percent were shut down remotely, according to company officials. As of Tuesday, 394 of those wells remain closed, and Noble executives estimated that damage to their equipment might total between $7 million and $17 million…

The company has reported four flood-related spills to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, totaling about 212 barrels (8,903 gallons) of oil, and 30 barrels (1,259 gallons) of “produced water,” or water pumped from the underground rock formation that carries small amounts of oil and gas with it…

Some opponents of oil and gas operations have criticized the industry for the spills, calling for moratoriums on oil and gas operations in the flooded areas.

And while company officials say any spills are too many, they’re surprised things aren’t worse given the widespread flood damage. “We feel fortunate,” said Dan Kelly, Noble’s vice president of the Denver-Julesburg Basin — a rich cache of oil and natural gas sprawls north and east of Denver, of how Noble’s operations stood up against the rushing floodwaters that wrecked roads, homes, businesses, dams and wastewater treatment facilities across 4,500 square miles.

“To have four spills out of 758 wells shut down and the 400 facilities (storage tanks at the well sites) — our equipment did what it was supposed to do,” he said. Three of the four spills came from flood-damaged storage tanks. The fourth spill stemmed from a flow line connected to a tank ripped by the rushing water.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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