Oil company Anadarko’s quick secret settlement with families in Firestone Colorado home explosion that killed two, injured two and damaged a neighbouring home later bought by Anadarko; Investigation found Anadarko guilty, not nature.

Compare Colorado regulator negligence with Alberta’s, both greedily putting lives and property at risk to enable more profits for oil and gas multinationals:

Investigators say an accumulation of gases appears to have caused the explosion that destroyed the Rosebud Alberta water tower and sent a Wheatland County employee to hospital with serious injuries

Diana Daunheimer’s Excellent Summation of AER & CAPP’s Evil Synergy Alberta

Diana Daunheimer Doug Mackenzie

But the 10, 247 SCVF/GM wells is part of that ST-60b good read. Take it up with the AER if you don’t believe them, that a lot of wells in the province leak.

Me, I’ve seen it, can walk to two leaking wells within 500m of our home. One is a sour gas well, bubbling gas, outside of the casing. The AER does not inform landowners when wells on their land are leaking, and refuse to instal proper signage for important safety precautions on wells, with vent flow or migration.

To Honour the Fallen on Remembrance Day: Make public AER’s secret “D79 Abandoned Well Methane Toxicity Preliminary Assessment” & Appendix 2 by Alberta Health, Admitting “Acute-Life threatening” risks & “Neurological effects”

AER trying to pretend it’s a regulator? Trying to deflect from Nikiforuk’s reporting on life-threatening leaking energy wells in Calgary, Medicine Hat, Calmar, Edmonton, more?

Calmar Alberta families asked to leave homes again in effort to fix Imperial Oil’s methane leak, Ordered fix made the leak worse

Crying foul over Calmar gas well, Calmar Alberta residents upset about lack of compensation, loss of property values

Leaking gas well forces families out in Calmar Alberta neighbourhood

***

Woman who lost husband, brother in Firestone explosion had a say in oil and gas reform bill, Erin Martinez lost her husband and brother in a house explosion, caused by an abandoned and severed gas line in Firestone. She says she had a say in the proposed regulations that ***could*** [but most likely won’t] change the oil and gas industry in Colorado by Marshall Zelinger and Erin Powell, March 4, 2019, 9News

DENVER — She is an accidental celebrity – someone now known through no fault of her own.

Erin Martinez is now using that platform to try to keep someone else from becoming the next accidental celebrity.

“I know this is a fight against one of the biggest industries in the world. I think that it isn’t just going to be a couple months of a fight for me, I think it’s going to be a lifelong thing. I really want to make sure that this change happens and that nobody is ever sitting in this chair having this conversation with you again,” said Martinez.

She is known because of the tragedy she experienced in April 2017 when her home in Firestone exploded. Her husband, Mark, and brother, Joey Irwin, were killed in the explosion that injured her and her son.

The explosion was caused by an abandoned and severed gas line attached to an oil and gas well.

“I don’t want people to think that my story is being exploited, or that I’m being exploited,” said Martinez.

She spoke about her family’s experience publicly for the first time last week, when she joined Democrats at a press conference to announce new oil and gas legislation at the Colorado Capitol. Martinez plans to be there Tuesday, as well, when lawmakers prepare to debate the Senate Bill, which would bring extensive reform to the industry.

The proposal comes months after voters in Colorado shot down Proposition 112 that would have pushed new oil wells 2,500 feet away from schools and homes. The new bill will try to make a number of policy changes for oil and gas companies, giving more power to local governments and having state regulators make decisions based on health and safety first. [Highly doubtful the oil industry will allow that]

The flowline blamed for the Firestone explosion had been connected to an abandoned well belonging to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The original owner of the well abandoned it before there was development in the area, Martinez says, but it was turned on again after Andarko obtained ownership. The well leaked gas into the flowline when it became reactivated.

Martinez says she had a hand in crafting a piece of the new bill, specifically in regards to abandoned flowlines and disclosure about their locations. Her mom remembers Martinez saying in the hospital, just after the explosion, that she would do anything she could to make sure an incident like this never happened again.

Martinez says she isn’t sure that knowing about the well would have changed her family’s decision to live in that house, but she believes that knowledge would have at least prompted them to ask questions about it. She now wants homebuyers and homeowners to be provided information about wells and flowlines around their properties. In the least, she wants people to have easy access to the information for themselves, if they want to go looking for it.

“We weren’t told what we were living next to and living around. The well was only 178 feet from our house. I think disclosure is a huge piece. People should know what they’re living next to, what they’re living on top of, and what the plans are for the area around them,” Martinez said.

She has lived in Firestone for most of her life. She was aware of the wells’ presence in Weld County, but says she never thought much of it before.

“I trusted that the industry was doing what it needed to do to keep us safe. Never did I ever imagine in a million years that my home – that the devastation was going to happen to my house,” she said, adding that the explosion changed that for her. “I think I would have to blame the industry. I think that there were multiple opportunities to see that this abandoned flowline was not abandoned properly.”

Two baseball fields in Firestone were dedicated to Mark Martinez and Irwin a year ago. Erin Martinez wants people who see the plaques in their honor to know they were both amazing, hardworking men.

“It’s just unbearable having two losses at the same time, and definitely unbearable to lose two people of their magnitude,” she said.

Of her brother, she told us:

“I lived next door to [my brother] for about eight or nine years, and so he was there from the moment my children were born, and he was there for their growing up. We had dinner together every night. We went on vacations together and cheered on the Broncos on Sunday together. And we were just a very close family.”

And her husband:

“Mark was an incredible husband. He was a loving father. He was a great son. He was a great friend. A great brother. Just an amazing man. A hardworking man – a zest and a love for life, and really, really loved his life. And he just liked to have a good time, he liked to work hard. And he would really want to make sure that this didn’t happen to anyone again.”

Anadarko reached an undisclosed settlement with the victims last spring.

Anadarko tears down home adjacent to deadly Firestone explosion site, Anadarko is facing a renewed lawsuit from other homeowners in the area by Sam Lounsberry, May 22, 2018, Longmont Times-Call

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. this week demolished the home at 6310 Twilight Ave. in Firestone that sat next door to the site of last year’s deadly home explosion related to an uncapped gas flowline.

The house was purchased by the company from its previous owners as part of a settlement agreement after the blast that killed Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin, and injured Martinez’s wife, Erin, on April 27, 2017, said Anadarko spokeswoman Jennifer Brice.

No specific plans for the property have been disclosed by the company. The home was damaged by the explosion.

Anadarko is facing a renewed lawsuit from other homeowners in the area alleging the company acted negligently, and that the fatal incident has hurt the value of their homes.

The company has returned to service more than 1,350 vertical wells after shutting-in more than 3,000 in the Denver-Julesburg Basin and plugging or abandoning about 600 in the wake of last year’s explosion.

Anadarko reaches settlement with families of victims, survivors of Firestone house explosion, Settlement is secret, but company says Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin were “innocent victims” by Same Lounsberry, May 23, 2018, Longmont Times-Call

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has reached a settlement agreement with the families of victims and survivors of last year’s deadly explosion in Firestone that was blamed on an uncapped flowline operated by the company.

Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joey Irwin, were killed and Martinez’s wife, Erin, and their son, Nathan, were injured when the home at 6312 Twilight Ave. exploded on April 17, 2017.

The company said the agreement resolved the claims of the Erin Martinez and her children, and Irwin’s parents, Cathy Hurtado and Joseph Irwin Jr.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the company. An attorney representing Erin Martinez was not immediately available for comment when his firm was reached by phone.

The ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board limits Anadarko’s discussion of the incident, but the company said in a statement “it is clear that Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin were innocent victims in the explosion. Neither they nor Erin Martinez bear any responsibility or fault for what occurred.”

The explosion was caused by a cut flowline attached to an active Anadarko Petroleum well about 170 feet from the house, state and local investigators said. The men — both licensed plumbers — died while replacing the home’s water heater. Investigators say an odorless mix of propane and methane seeped into the house through French drains and a sump pump and ignited. Commercial gas had been turned off inside the home the day before the explosion.

The vertical well to which the flowline was attached had been drilled by a previous operator in 1993, Anadarko said.

“The people of Anadarko express their deepest condolences to both families, and to all affected families, friends and communities. The company remains committed to permanently plugging, abandoning and removing the well, and two others nearby, as well as the associated equipment located in and around the Oak Meadows neighborhood,” the company’s statement said.

Jennifer Brice, a spokeswoman for Anadarko, declined further comment. “Out of respect for the confidentiality of the agreement and the families we have nothing further to add beyond the statement provided.”

Anadarko this week demolished the house next door to the Martinez’s home on Twilight Avenue. The house was damaged by the explosion and had been purchased by Anadarko as part of settlement with the owners. Terms of that deal also were not disclosed.

In a separate, pending lawsuit filed by Anadarko shareholders, six former high-ranking Anadarko employees have blamed the company for slashing safety and remediation budgets before the Firestone explosion. That lawsuit contends the company is responsible for causing the shareholders to lose money they invested.

[!!!!!!!!] The lawsuit alleges Anadarko officials should have warned the shareholders they were violating the safety and environmental rules of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry. The company has declined to comment publicly on that lawsuit but is mounting a defense in federal court.

Anadarko has returned to service more than 1,350 vertical wells after shutting-in more than 3,000 in the Denver-Julesburg Basin and plugging or abandoning about 600 in the wake of the Firestone explosion.

The Federal Firestone Explosion Report Is Delayed. The Shutdown Is One Reason Why by Grace Hood, March 1, 2019, Colorado Public Radio

The National Transportation Safety Board said its final investigation report into the Firestone home explosion has been delayed.

It won’t be released until this summer at the earliest, nearly two years after the fatal explosion. Results were originally projected for 12 to 18 months after the spring 2017 explosion.

“We follow the facts wherever they go. So it’s difficult to give precise timelines on specific investigations,” NTSB spokesperson Eric Weiss said. “We try to get them done as quickly as possible. But not at the cost of cutting back our investigations.”

On April 17, 2017 two men were killed and two others were injured when a Firestone home exploded. Local fire authorities later concluded in their own investigation that a flowline owned by Anadarko Petroleum was improperly abandoned, and wasn’t capped properly.

The pending National Transportation Safety Board investigation has prevented Anadarko and local fire authorities from discussing the issue.

The state regulatory agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, has not issued any fines related to Firestone because it’s waiting to see the federal report.

National transportation officials say there were two factors that have delayed the Firestone investigation: the lead federal investigator retired, and the 35-day partial government shutdown delayed work for Firestone, among other cases.

“The government shutdown did have an impact on all our investigations,” Weiss said.

Since the Firestone home explosion, Anadarko reached a settlement with the families impacted by the blast.

Colorado regulators completed a rulemaking to improve flowline abandonment regulations. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper also issued an executive order to speed the clean-up of abandoned wells. [What good will that do? Companies will do their usual, and ignore the order and carry on, business as usual]

But those reforms didn’t go far enough for environmental advocates, who mounted a failed statewide ballot campaign in 2018.

This year the fight turns to the state legislature. On Thursday Erin Martinez, whose husband and brother died in the Firestone home explosion, stood alongside Gov. Jared Polis announcing work on new oil and gas legislation. The bill will tackle multiple issues including local control, and underground oil and gas line mapping.

“My home and family were destroyed because my home was next to a leaking flowline that had been left connected to the well,” Martinez said. “We need to have accuracy on oil and gas infrastructure and this needs to be publicly available.”

The NTSB is looking at releasing results this summer “or possibly later,” Weiss said, depending on how the final days of the investigation play out.

Renewed Investor Suit Contains Whistleblower Details In Deadly Firestone Well Explosion by Ben Markus, Aug 6, 2018, Colorado Public Radio

Anadarko Petroleum executives once again find themselves facing a legal battle related the deadly well explosion in Firestone.

Investors have re-filed a class action complaint — chock full of new details — that alleges management is responsible for lost stock value and that they were aware of safety problems at the company, but continued to cut budgets amid an oil downturn, leading to fatal consequences.

Most of the new information in the amended complaint comes from a whistleblower only identified as “Former Employee 7” — a male, high-ranking superintendent with the company for 12 years, who left Anadarko just before the 2017 blast. Allegations include:

Twenty-five percent of the wells received from Noble Energy in a big asset swap, that this former employee plugged, were old and dangerous. The Firestone well, known as Coors V 6-14Ji, was part of the swap.

Anadarko did not know the locations of flowlines and pipelines for up to 30 percent of the wells acquired in the swap with Noble. A flowline, thought to be abandoned, pumped gas into the Firestone home leading to the explosion. In fact, Anadarko couldn’t even locate some whole wells it acquired from Noble, let alone underground pipelines, according to the lawsuit.

Before Firestone, flowlines on 80 percent of all Anadarko wells in Colorado were deemed low risk by the company and never pressure tested, “in direct violation of Colorado law.”

The former employee also details Anadarko’s use of contractors to carry out inspections in the suit. These contractors, called “pumpers,” were overworked and undertrained, the unnamed source said. They had only about five minutes to conduct cursory inspections, including looking at the well and smelling for leaks. Contractors’ limited inspections would have missed odorless gas from the Firestone well, according to the court filing.

Another claim is that some Anadarko wells were never even inspected. Up to 5 percent of all of Anadarko’s wells were missed because contractors couldn’t handle the work.

The former employee said he and others repeatedly informed upper management of safety problems, but because many of the wells were old, low producers were not given priority.

Anadarko wouldn’t comment on the accusations in the lawsuit.

“Although there is a lot we would like to say at this time,” wrote Jennifer Brice, manager of corporate communications, in an email. “The appropriate path for us is to reserve our response for the court as part of the judicial process.”

Refer also to:

Are Oil Patch Promises Believable? Neighbors want oil & gas wells removed from Firestone explosion site, Anadarko *promised* it would happen in July. Company likely waiting for the community to forget over Christmas, Resume production without fixing a thing?

2017 05 25: Firestone Colorado: Much larger pocket of industry’s explosive gas discovered after 3,000 Anadarko wells shut down because of fatal home explosion caused by Anadarko’s leaking methane

2017 05 02: Leak in Line From Gas Well Blamed in Fatal Colorado Blast, Fire officials say a deadly home explosion in Colorado was caused by odorless, unrefined natural gas leaking from an old pipeline, and the governor ordered statewide inspections of similar lines

2017 05 01: Investigation finds Anadarko guilty, not Nature in Firestone Colorado home explosion: Investigators say industry’s gas migrated into home from abandoned flow line attached to energy well, killed two, injured two. How many homes globally have industry’s methane migrating into them, putting lives at risk with regulators everywhere looking the other way?

A home explosion in Firestone Monday, April 17, 2017 killed two and sent two people to the hospital. Dennis Herrera/ Special to The Denver Post

It “found an ignition source inside the home. It erupted into a sudden and violent explosion” that killed homeowner Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joey Irwin and critically injured Martinez’s wife, Erin.

FIRESTONE, CO - APRIL 27: Crews continue to investigate a fatal house explosion on April 27, 2017 in Firestone, Colorado. Anadarko Petroleum plans to shut down 3,000 wells in northeastern Colorado after the fatal explosion. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
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