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Upstream - Colorado

Colorado Response

May 23, 2018

Today it was announced that an agreement has been reached resolving the claims of the Martinez and Irwin families, including the claims of Erin Martinez and her children, and those of Cathy Hurtado and Joseph Irwin Jr., related to the explosion of the Martinez home on Twilight Avenue in Firestone, Colorado, on April 17, 2017.  

Statement of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

April 10, 2018

It’s been nearly one year since the tragic home explosion in Firestone, Colo. While no one may ever have all the answers, we continue to fully cooperate with the National Transportation Safety Board’s ongoing investigation. What we do know is that no words can ever bring back the two lives that were lost, nor ease the pain felt by their families, friends and communities.

We owe it to the memories of Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin and to all residents living in and around the DJ Basin, including nearly a thousand of our own employees who live along the Front Range, to learn all we can from the accident so that the industry can continue to make its operations safer.

In the days following the accident, we took a number of measures to reassure residents in and near the Firestone community and to evaluate our operations as part of our commitment to learn all we could from the tragedy.

Engagement (updated Oct. 9, 2018)

We held a town hall meeting on May 24, 2017, attended by approximately 170 residents of the Oak Meadows neighborhood where the accident occurred, and subsequent town halls in the adjacent subdivisions of Mountain Shadows and Pelican Shores. We continue to have open dialogue with these HOAs and maintain web portals for residents of Oak Meadows and Mountain Shadows to receive updates and contact us with any concerns or questions.

Our employees helped hand out methane detectors to residents of Oak Meadows on June 3, 2017. We continue to provide funding for residents wanting to purchase methane detectors for their homes – a program we expanded to any household located within a half-mile of our operated equipment in the DJ Basin. To date, more than 750 methane detectors have been distributed or reimbursement provided by the company.

On Aug. 9, 2018, as previously shared with the Oak Meadows HOA, we began the process of permanently plugging and reclaiming (known as plug and abandon (P&A) in the industry) the three operated wells located in the Oak Meadows subdivision, as well as removing the associated equipment. Since April 2017, all three wells remained shut-in, which means they were not producing oil or natural gas. The plugging and reclamation work was completed in mid-September of 2018, meaning these three wells have been permanently retired.

Previously, we successfully remediated isolated areas of methane present in the soil near the site of the accident and Oak Meadows Blvd. As follow-up monitoring showed no detectable hydrocarbons in the area, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the state’s regulatory authority, gave us permission to remove the monitoring equipment and restore the land.

Operational Actions

As we previously shared on this website, shortly after the accident, in an abundance of caution, we shut-in more than 3,000 operated vertical wells in the DJ Basin. The wells remained shut-in until we were able to complete additional inspections and testing of the lines associated with each wellhead and surface equipment. Our comprehensive inspections on all of our vertical wells consisted of a 25-step process. To date we have returned to service more than 1,350 of the shut-in vertical wells, and we have plugged and abandoned approximately 600 vertical wells. The remaining shut-in wells are awaiting further evaluation, retro-fit equipment installation or abandonment.

Additionally, we permanently disconnected and used cement to plug, in accordance with the COGCC’s abandonment requirements, approximately 3,600 one-inch return lines associated with our operated vertical wells. We also publicly shared a video to demonstrate how this was done.

Compliance with the COGCC’s Notice to Operators

On May 2, 2017, the COGCC issued a statewide Notice to Operators (NTO) consisting of two phases. Phase 1 required all operators to systematically inspect and document the location of all flowlines located within 1,000 feet of a building unit. Phase 2 required the documented results of pressure testing to verify the integrity of flowlines and equipment process piping as well as the abandonment of all inactive flowlines by cutting below grade and sealing with cement according to COGCC regulations.  

On July 28, 2017, we provided confirmation to the COGCC that we had substantially completed the operational requirements described in the NTO and the “Frequently Asked Questions,” including the abandonment of the remaining inactive steel flowlines contemplated under the NTO extension. The results of the NTO process are summarized below:

  • 53,000+ lines of spreadsheet data were compiled for the Phase 1 and Phase 2 documentation, covering approximately 1,100 production facilities and 4,200 wells.
  • The COGCC has been provided with the location ID number for the associated production facilities, well API numbers, GPS location data for the start and end points of all flowlines, and active or abandoned status of each.
  • All active flowlines and facility process piping located within 1,000 feet of a building unit have been inspected.
  • 4,000+ active flowlines connecting wellheads to associated infrastructure were pressure tested. Approximately 99.6% of the flowlines tested demonstrated good integrity by passing pressure testing.
  • 2,400+ inactive steel flowlines have been disconnected and cement plugged as required for abandonment.

Cooperation to Strengthen Regulatory Requirements

On Aug. 22, 2017, following a three-month review of oil and gas operations, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced the state’s plan to focus on policy initiatives, which would occur either through rulemaking or legislation. These included: strengthening the COGCC’s flowline regulations, enhancing the 811 “Call before You Dig” program, creating a nonprofit orphan well fund to plug and abandon orphan wells, and prohibiting future domestic gas taps, among others.

Our Chairman, President and CEO, Al Walker, responded with the following:

“We appreciate the Governor’s comprehensive approach in response to the Firestone tragedy and his willingness to work openly with regulators, business leaders, developers, environmental groups, local government associations, industry and other impacted stakeholders to enhance safety within our communities. We will continue working with the Governor, state regulators and legislators in the coming weeks and months to effectively implement the measures that have been identified to date, including the expansion of the 811 ‘call before you dig’ program, enhanced flowline pressure testing, and methane detection. We hope these actions, combined with the many other required and voluntary steps already taken, will help reassure residents about the safety of our operations. We remain committed to open communication, ongoing engagement with our communities, and ensuring our operations meet the highest environmental and safety standards.”

In the weeks and months that followed, our company worked cooperatively with multiple stakeholders, including the COGCC, during the rulemaking progress. On March 8, 2018, the COGCC issued the Final Order  with the critical elements of the new regulations including: 1) the registration of new and existing flowlines, as well as additional requirements for the location, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and abandonment procedures associated with flowlines, and 2) an increase in required inspections, which are specific to the types of lines. These two elements were put in place to improve transparency around the location of underground flowlines and to ensure their integrity.

Our company supports the new regulatory requirements recognizing they are essential in building public trust around the safety and environmental performance of our operations.

Going Forward

Our focus continues to be on operating in a safe and transparent fashion. We will continue to be accessible to our stakeholders and responsive to concerns. You can reach our dedicated team by contacting the Colorado Response Line at 866.248.9577 or anadarkocolorado@anadarko.com, or you may contact us by using the form below:


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