Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 25, 2013

Burst well casing brings day-long response near Eureka

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — It was a long day Thursday for oil well workers and Navarro County first responders after reports that a well casing ruptured and fracking fluids began leaking from a well being drilled on SECR 3100.

Navarro County OEM Coordinator Eric Meyers said the incident was reported to local authorities about 6 a.m. Thursday.

The well site is about one-half mile off South U.S. Highway 287 near Eureka. O’Brien Energy of Louisiana is the well’s operator.

According to reports from the field, the drilling pipe for the well broke loose or fractured, causing the well to begin leaking several gallons of fluid per minute. Reports also indicate some crew members received minor injuries when the casing collapsed, however those injuries were minor, according to Gary Love, general counsel for O’Brien Energy.

“We made sure that everybody was OK on the ground,” Love said. “There were no hospital visits ... we know that all our folks are in good shape.”

Love said the exact cause of the incident wasn’t clear.

“We’re not really sure,” Love said Thursday night. “We’re working to make sure we’ve got complete control of the well, but we don’t believe there is any danger to our employees or our contractors, and certainly no danger to the public or the surrounding area.”

Love could not identify the contents of the liquid that leaked from the well, but said he believed it was mostly water.

“It’s all going into the reserve pits we’ve got there on site,” he said.

Ramona Nye, a spokesman for the Texas Railroad Commission, confirmed that the leaking fluids from the well were being contained in a lined retention pond.

The immediate concern of first responders was the possibility that the well could blow up. Firefighters from several volunteer departments and a unit from the Corsicana Fire Department responded to the scene, and first responders began to assess the immediate area for buildings and residences, in the event an evacuation of the area became necessary. Fortunately, it did not.

Air quality was also a concern for first responders, but air monitoring conducted by the TCEQ Thursday at the well site noted no effect on air quality in the area, said Terry Clawson, manager of the media relations office.

Local agencies responding to assist at the well site included firefighters from Corsicana, R/C 287, Retreat, Blooming Grove, and Kerens; the Navarro County Office of Emergency Management’ Navarro County Sheriff’s Office; American Red Cross; and Precinct 2 Commissioner Dick Martin.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com