Anadarko Petroleum Corp has worked hard to be a good neighbor in fast-growing Colorado, where sprawl has encroached on oil and gas operations, and homes and wells are sometimes now side by side.
Through a hotline and a community engagement team that often goes door-to-door, the company has tried to proactively defuse tensions with those who live and work near its sites. It implemented plans to minimize truck traffic and noise and lower methane emissions, and has tried to make its operations as small and unobtrusive as possible.
That goodwill campaign now faces a tough test, following an explosion last month that killed two people at a home built less than 200 feet from a natural gas well operated by Anadarko.Need to re-think that setback rule, I suppose, for new housing developments.
Authorities on Tuesday said the April 17 blast at a home in Firestone, a town about 30 miles north of Denver, was caused by unrefined and odorless gas that appears to have leaked from an abandoned gas line attached to the well.
The line had been cut at some point near the home’s foundation, and the gas went into the soil before migrating into the home through a French drain and sump pit, said Theodore Poszywak, chief of the Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District.
The well was drilled in 1993 by Gerrity Oil & Gas Corp. and later acquired by Anadarko in 2014. The single-family home was built in 2015. Homeowner Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law, Joey Irwin, were killed. Mr. Martinez’s wife, Erin, was severely injured.
Anadarko has responded by voluntarily shuttering more than 3,000 wells that it operates across northeast Colorado. Its shares were down nearly 8% Wednesday afternoon,
following the news about the cause of the blast, and first quarter earnings released late Tuesday that were below analysts’ expectations.