Antero Resources gets new deadline to abate violation
August 31, 2012 ·
A company accused of violating state code for failing to control its gas well was granted an extension to fix the conditions.
Two weeks ago, a fire and explosion at a gas well in Harrison County left three workers injured.
The incident occurred at the Cottrill No. 3 Well operated by Antero Resources of Denver.
While a drill was being removed from the well, something happened which created a spark, ignited methane gas, and sparked a fire that took an hour to put out.
The fire injured three Hall Drilling workers on site.
Antero Resources was issued a violation notice by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
Tom Aluise is the DEP spokesman.
"We’re in the process of being there on site and making sure they are following all the procedures, we will continue to look into what possibly caused the ignition and that type of thing," Aluise said. "The inspector in that area is maintaining contact, he’s the person that’s making frequent visits there."
The order gave Antero until this week to meet the terms of the DEP. But the DEP is allowing Antero until September 12 to abate the violation.
Failure to do so by that date would result in bond forfeiture, and possibly deeper penalties. Aluise says a monetary penalty will also be paid.
"We know that methane gas somehow ignited, we don’t know the source of the ignition at this time, we may never know. We suspect that the gas was contained in a coal seam and that the gas was introduced to an ignition source, and the fire occurred," Aluise said.
All three of the victims are out of the hospital and one experienced some severe burn injuries.
The rig that was being used at the site was also damaged, and Aluise says a new rig has been brought in, although no work is being done at the time.
"This particular violation is just for this well pad, and right now, Antero is in the process of casing the well, which would be protective of any groundwater, they are in the process of casing," Aluise said.
Antero is required to sample water wells and springs used for human consumption, within 2,000 feet of the well.
They must install equipment to divert any gases that may be encountered there, and install cement baskets, which are used for operations.
Antero Resources Vice President Al Schopp tells West Virginia Public Radio the company is in the process of meeting all the abatement criteria.
Antero is conducting its own investigation of the incident. Schopp says at this time, Antero doesn’t know the ignition source, either.