Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thanks Encana Oil & Gas for the Abandoned Well Under our City Park! Courtesy Matters...

A stunning, but very common case of oil and gas courtesy brought to you by Encana Oil & Gas. In Erie, Colorado, a city park has a plugged and abandoned natural gas well under the surface where children play. Hundreds of homes surround the park where the abandoned well is located with some homes as close as 100 feet away.

The accuracy of this once producing natural gas well is supported with the official Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) 'Application to Permit to Drill' in December 1981 with its precise location. This well was initially owned by Vessels Oil & Gas Company which later sold the lease to PanCanadian Energy (Encana Oil & Gas). API: 05-013-06106

What kind of gesture is it to cover up an abandoned natural gas well and build a playground on the land? How could the city approve of such a probable danger to the public at large, and the children who play on the property?

Click image to enlarge
(Note the dates of the images)

Abandoned oil & gas wells have historic problems and safety concerns as defined by the COGCC.  A recent case dated Jan 13, 2011 in Florence, Colorado an official report was filed by the COGCC to 'Request emergency funding for explosive levels of thermogenic, wet natural gas into and under occupied residential homes from plugged and abandoned wells.' ORDER NO. 1E-10

Below are snippets from the official COGCC Findings document. LINK


                               3. Soil gas surveys in portions of said Sections 15 and 16 were done prior to and then again subsequent to the plugging of the orphan well.  These soil gas surveys were funded using Appropriation 076 funds for special environmental projects.  The follow-up surveys indicate that soil gas concentrations around and under residences have not decreased subsequent to the plugging of the orphan well.  Five homes are located over or in close proximity to the gas seeps. 

                        4.  COGCC Southern Colorado Field Inspection Supervisor Mike Leonard identified small circular areas of stressed vegetation in the late fall of 2010 in close proximity to oil well locations interpreted from the 1909 USGS records.  He also determined gas was actively seeping from one of the stressed vegetation areas.  He also determined that explosive levels of methane were present in the shallow soils immediately adjacent to one of the mobile homes in the area. 

                        5.  COGCC Staff propose to investigate and determine the sources of gas seeping in this residential area.  The investigation will include detailed investigations of the gas seeps.  Trenching and excavating will be the primary method used to locate orphaned well bores.   Flux surveys of gas seepage volumes will be done simultaneously with trenching and excavating to better locate the sources of gas and the directions in which the gas is migrating.  Other tools that may be used are magnetometers, ground penetrating radar as well as handheld infrared or other gas leak detector devices.  Sampling and characterization of gases from seeps and oil wells in the area will also be used to better understand sources of the seeps.

                        6.  COGCC Staff also propose to aid the local residents to better ensure immediate safety in their homes by purchasing and installing gas monitoring devices as needed.  Other passive mitigation measures may also be used such as venting of combustible soil gases away from homes and residences. 

                        7.   This project designed to ensure human health safety and welfare has estimated costs and expenditures of $67,000.   As described in Finding No. 1, funds for this project are not available from Appropriation 075 which is used for environmental response or from Appropriation 076 which is used for special environmental projects in this fiscal year.  COGCC staff believes that this project needs to be done as soon as practicable due to the potential risk to human safety posed by gas believed to be leaking from orphaned oil wells in the area. 


Click images to enlarge

There are approximately 79,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Colorado.  The question you need to ask yourself is: 'Do I have any abandoned wells near my home?'

All cement wellbores WILL fail over time. It's the nature of things. 



  1. This woman lives in Weld County Colorado, the same place as the iconic "flaming tap" scene in Gasland. 2 of the 3 people featured in Gasland from the area had confirmed contamination from gas drilling. Those are the facts. Does that make fracking safe?

  2. WOW! Thanks oil & gas for your kind donation to the welfare of our children!

  3. Just a few problems here... 1) This has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing. 2) The well itself was drilled and completed in 1981, 32 years ago. 3) The neighborhood around it was built starting 1999, so do your research. 4)The COGCC funding for abandoned gas wells isn't specific to this well, so it's irrelevant. 5) Look at the facts, it's safe.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I enjoy when people speak with authority and know not of what they talk about!

      Your statements

      Just a few problems here... 1) This has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing.

      My response:
      EX: Source: COGCC

      Completed information for formation JSND
      1st Production Date: 2/22/1983 Choke Size: 0.000
      Status Date: 9/16/2008 Open Hole Completion:
      Commingled: Y Production Method: FLOWING
      Formation Name: J SAND Status: SI
      Formation Treatment
      Treatment Date: 2/23/1983
      Treatment summary: ACIDIZED W/ 5 GAL 2% KCL H2O & 24 BBL 7.5% KCL ACID. FRAC'D W/ 201,390 GAL FLUID & 561,288# 20/40 M

      Note the well was in-fact, fracked. You are incorrect.

      2) The well itself was drilled and completed in 1981, 32 years ago.

      My Answer: Yes indeed, you are correct as is the official COGCC document that depicts the year. If you don’t know, 6.5% of all wellbore fail upon their creation, 60% of all wellbores fail within 20 years (this well has an incredible chance of failure already being that it is 32 years old.) Also, ALL WELLBORES FAIL OVER TIME.

      3) The neighborhood around it was built starting 1999, so do your research.

      My Answer: Yes the neighborhood may have been built around the well. That does not make it right by any means, in fact, it tells me that the State and the city are grossly negligent for not preventing adverse impacts from oil and gas development. Nor have they abided by state regulations that discuss distance setbacks. So in effect, the state allows the local municipalities to set their own rules, which is another collision of COGCC regulations.

      4)The COGCC funding for abandoned gas wells isn't specific to this well, so it's irrelevant.

      My answer: Yes it is very specific, thus wellbore failures and the juxtaposition of the Florence well with the Encana well. The admittance of the COGCC that wellbores fail and cause adverse impacts is real.

      5) Look at the facts, it's safe.

      My answer: The facts are, it’s a severely unregulated toxic industry that should never be allowed in residential areas. In fact, it’s numerous federal exemptions illustrate how the industry cannot operate without changing the laws that are designed to protect us. Our civil rights to safety and protection have been stripped from us via the oil and gas federal exemptions.

      My entire blog is filled with official COGCC facts that clearly show the state and the industry have miserably failed. Just read the latest CDPHE report that came out stating a laundry list of neurotoxic, carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting chemicals are released at unacceptable levels to the environment an humans.


      Now you have the facts. Please do your homework next time.


    3. As do I, and I do appreciate that you simply didn't delete my comment! However, I would like to keep this argument free of ad hominem, as to keep this centered around the facts.

      1) Topicality on hydraulic fracturing

      I would like to commend you on your use of resources currently in place to access this relevant information (FracFoucs?). While this well was indeed hydraulically fractured over 30 years ago, the content of your post is more relevant to the drilling process rather than fracturing itself. You talk about surface casing failures (which I will discuss in a minute), which are inserted as a well is drilled, not fractured. Thus your issue here is more relevant to gas development than "fracking." Generalizations like this lead to confusion for those who are uniformed as what fracturing actually is.

      2) Time (32 years)

      I do acknowledge that well bores will eventually fail, however there are two counters I have for your assertion. First, the time that you give (20 years) is given for wells in production. The well we are discussing here is not actually in production, rather it is "abandoned" as you point out. Abandoned wells are often "killed." I would recommend looking into how wells are "killed" because it sure uses a lot of cement. Second, I was curious as to where those figures came from (specifically a COGCC report?) because The Society of Petroleum Engineers, Schlumberger, API, and a number of organizations that actually deal with these wells do not report similar figures. We must be wary of bias in this debate, I agree, but Cornell is certainly not as "independent" as it claims to be judging by their funding reports...

      3) Well Existence Prior to development

      I actually agree that it is not right to allow home developers to violate setback rules (which are actually only for wells in production, but that is a side issue), as they are the law. What we have to acknowledge is that this is not the fault of the operator, but instead the fault of developers. The state should by no means allow municipalities to dictate their own rules, as mineral and surface rights are separate under the Colorado constitution; thus this is a state issue rather than a local issue. Again, this is the fault of developers, not the government or operators.

      4) Wellbore failures, COGCC

      The reason as to why this is irrelevant is because the COGCC issued this warning as a general action, but not specific to this well. This particular well was not subject to preventative action by the COGCC (Unless you can specially prove otherwise, this is simply fluff.) Also, your use of two examples out of tens of thousands is commonly referred to as a "spotlight" logical fallacy, so you are generalizing based on two specific events.

      5) Safety

      This could be the subject of books in it of itself, but I will keep it short. First, Colorado has some of the most stringent regulations in the nation, and is thus not "unregulated." Second, it not a toxic industry. Just look at research conducted by the City of Erie itself: http://www.erieco.gov/index.aspx?nid=922. In the very study you cited: "The monitored concentrations of benzene,one of the major risk driving chemicals, are well within acceptable limits to protect public health, as determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The concentrations of various compounds are comparatively low and are not likely to raise significant health issues of concern." The industry has been proven safe.

      I implore you to read the studies that you suggest next time. Thank you for your time.

    4. Greetings: PART I of II

      1.) I did not use fracfocus for any of the data I retrieved. FrackFocus is nothing but a public pacifier that is an utter joke. A voluntary system that reports inaccurate volume data. I, and another investigator spent a considerable amount of time juxtaposing ‘volume metrics’ from the official COGCC Completed Interval docx with fracfocus volume data, (API specific of course). What we found in our random sampling was skewed across the board, showing volume data being entered in fracfocus by operators was inaccurate in many cases. In some cases the volumes entered in fracfocus were 3x less than what was officially reported, used, and documented by COGCC documents. I use COGCC documents for nearly all of my posts.

      2.) Where you call ‘killed’ wells, they are officially documented as ‘plugged and abandoned’ by the COGCC. This specific well, the Bailey 12-2 ‘s first day of production was 23 February, 1983 and was in production (PR) until June 2008 which gives this well a ‘production life’ of nearly 25 years, exceeding your claim of ‘20 production clause’ for the Cornell study, thus validating my assertion this well poses probable well casing failure, etc...

      3.) Developers fault? Not entirely…
      Developers gain or lose their community/local governance from State Law. This case supposes that the local planning and zoning commission ‘allowed’ the development of high density residential development to producing, abandoned, plugged and abandoned (any completed well), closer than the State COGCC setback Rules and regulations. This tells me a few things. 1.) Contrary to Governor Hickenlooper’s wishes of not allowing local communities to oppose fracking (extractive mining), he quite literally is a hypocrite in that, he allows local governance to not abide by the COGCC Setback regulations that are the governing body. Conflict or collusion? Possibly both. So now we have planning and zoning commissions creating their own rules as to where they can build homes and subject the homeowner to the probable adverse impacts from the extractive processes. 2.) There is a ‘Setback Loophole’ in the COGCC regulations that basically states: ‘Any completed well can be re-entered and or re-drilled’ regardless of proximity to structure.

      LINK: http://cogcc.state.co.us/library/setbackstakeholdergroup/Presentations/setback%20loophole%20HIDDEN%20IMPACTS%20OF%20HYDRAULIC%20FRACKING%20%20%20S.%20Davis%20-%20Aug%202012%20-%20Copy.pdf

      So my assertion that both the State of Colorado and the local municipalities are negligent holds true.

      4.) Well bore failures, Florence Colorado. Your assertion is incorrect as per the official COGCC documentation clearly shows that the State requested emergency funding for a wellbore failure on a ‘plugged & abandoned’ well for explosive levels of wet, thermogenic gas seeping into homes. The COGCC did not issue a warning. They issued an all-out emergency. ORDER NO. 1E-10 LINK: http://ogccweblink.state.co.us/DownloadDocument.aspx?DocumentId=2646456

      Part II... continued

    5. Part II of II

      My ‘generalization’ that well bores fail in Colorado is not actually solely based on two events, but rather an entire study that I have already conducted and not published at this time indicating otherwise. There are 129,073 completed wells in Colorado, care to run basic probability stat showing a 20-100 year period of well bore failures? (It’s already underway and Colorado residents are in for a toxic future.) And yes, the COGCC’s action was specific to API# 05-043-40078 as indicated on my blog post data.

      5.)Safety… You are obviously influenced by the oil and gas industry in your assessment that Colorado has the most stringent rules for oil and gas operations (to include fracking). I've a bit of news for you… Those same rules are the most protective of the oil & gas interests to include correlative rights of mineral owners and ‘not’ protective for the citizens of Colorado. That’s all fluff, and the people know it.

      You mentioned the air studies conducted by NOAA. Thanks, that’s one of my specialties. There are actually four important peer reviewed reports one must look at to make an objective assertion sans bias.

      1.)NOAA Dr. Brown Air Chemistry Study in Erie LINK: http://wtfrackorg.blogspot.com/2012/03/noaa-air-study-data-erie-colorado.html

      Quantitatively shows ‘causality’ from O&G development and present ait-toxins.

      2.)CSPH – Dr. McKenzie report LINK: http://democrats.naturalresources.house.gov/sites/democrats.naturalresources.house.gov/files/2012-05-02_McKenzieTestimony.pdf

      Quantitatively shows correlation to O&G development to higher risks of cancer to those who live within a set proximity to operations. Proximity was ½ mile.

      3.)Dr. Colborn’s AIR MANUSCRIPT LINK: http://tedx.org/chemicals.air.php
      Dr. Colborn’s study truly speaks for itself.

      4.)Colorado Dept of Environmental Health & Environment (CDPHE) aggregation air study. LINK: http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/tech_doc_repository.aspx?action=open&file=Erie_Air_Emissions_Case_Study_2012.pdf

      A comprehensive STATE study showing neurotoxins, endocrine disrupting chemicals, in the air casually related to oil & gas development. This reports shoots the State right in the foot because it validates all of the preceding reports. Remember, this is a State of Colorado report, so it’s accurate right? After-all, the CDPHE is in bed with the COGCC et al…

      Back to your ‘safety’ issue ( or rather mine). Please note that the oil and gas industry is the ‘only’ industry in the United States that developed its processes and engaged in them prior to determining if they were safe or not. Pharmaceuticals must go through the FDA and much more for safety precautions. The oil & gas industry, via Dick Cheney and his mob, changed the Federal Law thus exempting the oil & gas industry from a laundry list of laws that are in place to protect the people and the environment. Those very exemptions are the only possible way the industry can financially conduct business in a viable way. There are key provisions under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, CERCLA, RCRA, CAA, NEPA, EPCRA, and more. LINK: http://www.fractivist.blogspot.com/p/o-exemptions.html

      These numerous exemptions are critically harmful to the environment and to human health. The federal exemptions the oil and gas industry lavishes in have also stripped our civil rights to safety & protection. I recommend the industry overturn its own federal exemptions starting with the ‘Energy Policy Act of 2005.’ LINK: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ58/pdf/PLAW-109publ58.pdf

      You asked me to read the studies before posting? It appears I've done more than you have.

      P.S. Please post your real name. I'm happy to track your IP as well.

      PSS fractivists 'own' the red-headed stepchild term 'fracking' and we will continue to use it forever. The industry screwed up.

  4. Well bores do not fail in 20 years. Regardless of what data or study you quote the failure rate is too small to measure or have any measurable impact - and besides it is highly regulated but - no - not by the EPA (which clearly could do a better job!) . Too bad you despise fossil fuels, private property rights and capitalism. You are going to be beating your head against a wall for the rest of your life. BTW. Gasland - the movie- has been proven to be a complete misrepresentation and downright lie. No gas in groundwater because of fracing - there is no debate there. Also, you overuse the adj "toxic" to the point that it means nothing.

    1. It's almost humorous that you don't know the simple facts of physics. you state: 'Regardless of what data or study you quote the failure rate is too small to measure or have any measurable impact' <--- shocking that you think a single wellbore failure, such as the one that contaminated Mr. Anderson's water well and the Laramie Fox-Hills aquifer was insignificant.

      Mr. Anderson's water well can never be used again from being contaminated with thermogenic gas (yes, the isotopic frack gas) and toluene. Apparently the COGCC and the oil & gas operator thought this impact was measurable enough to warrant closure forever.

      LINK: http://www.fractivist.blogspot.com/2012/10/colorado-aquifer-contaminated-by.html

      Private property? There is no such thing. A local Colorado citizen who owned their 'private property' surface rights had their family's cemetery bulldozed so an oil & gas operator could set up shop right on top of their burial grounds. SPLIT ESTATE film

      The current laundry list of federal exemptions have stripped our Civil Rights to safety & protection. Hows that for sacrifice?

      PS: In the post above, I did not use the word 'toxic' one time.

      Your lack of knowledge is a public embarrassment.


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