Colorado Oil & Gas Industry Under Fire After April 2017 Leak Blamed for Explosion

Published on 7 May 2017, 19:23
State records show Colorado has only three people assigned to check on the safety of pipelines running from about 54,000 active oil and gas wells, a task that came under scrutiny after a leaking pipeline was blamed for a fatal house explosion. Since 2016, an inspector has checked about 400 of those pipelines and an engineer has audited company records for inspections of lines at about 2,800 wells. The April 17 explosion in the town of Firestone killed two people. Investigators have said unrefined, odorless gas was leaking into the home from a pipeline that was thought to be out of service but was still connected to a nearby well. The pipeline, called a flow line, is one of thousands in the state installed to carry oil and gas from wells to storage tanks or other collection points. After investigators announced their findings in the Firestone explosion, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry, ordered energy companies to inspect and test all flow lines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings.

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