Anadarko Caps More Than 6,000 Flowlines To Comply With State Order Following Firestone Blast

Anadarko Petroleum said late on 30 June that it has tested more than 4,000 active oil and gas lines and plugged another 2,400 inactive ones per a state order issued after a fatal home explosion in Firestone, Colorado, in April.

In this 4 May 2017 file photo, workers dismantle the charred remains of a home at the location where a gas line leak explosion killed two people inside their home in Firestone, Colorado. Credit: Brennan Linsley/Associated Press.

“We are looking at everything,” said John Christiansen, a spokesman for the Houston-area company. “We aren’t taking any chances.”

On 17 April, gas from an abandoned flowline still attached to an Anadarko well in Firestone’s Oak Meadows neighborhood ignited in the basement of 6312 Twighlight Ave., killing Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin as they worked on a water heater.

Right after the explosion, Anadarko shut down 3,000 vertical wells similar to the one implicated in the blast and, 10 weeks later, has brought only 30 of them back into production.

The company has pledged to permanently shut-in a half dozen wells located near the Oak Meadows neighborhood, which Century Communities built on top of an old oil and gas field criss-crossed with numerous flowlines.

The 2,400 inactive lines plugged under the state order were 2 or 3 in. in diameter. As an added precaution, the company capped another 3,600 1-in. lines no longer in use, bring the total number of abandoned lines to 6,000 plus.

Christiansen said the bulk of the abandoned lines were located on tank farms, or facilities that store and process oil and gas coming from surrounding wells. In Weld County, Colorado, Anadarko has switched to a tankless system where oil and gas is transported on larger pipelines and handled at a centralized facility.

Also per the state order, the company said it has pressure tested more than 4,000 active lines and that 99.6 percent had passed. The 16 that failed are undergoing repairs and will be retested.

“There are no hydrocarbons flowing through them,” Christiansen said.

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