COGCC Initial Incident Report for June 7 Extraction Accident Lists No Cause

The COGCC Initial Notice of Accident Report for the June 7 Extraction accident in Windsor lists no cause.  It occurred at the “Milkshake” well in Weld County at 7 p.m. on June 7 and was first visited by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) Inspector Mike Leonard on June 8.  Where the report is supposed to provide “a detailed description of the accident,” it states only, “A contract worker was involved in an OSHA reportable event as a result of a compromised bypass hose. An investigation is underway to determine causal factors and lessons learned.”  The well went back online on June 8.  Three workers were injured, one with a broken leg, with all being treated at a nearby hospital.

According to knowledgeable sources, the investigation should be able to determine what caused the pressurized hose to get loose, perhaps an explosion or an upset condition.  It is clear that a root cause analysis is needed.  A quick search did not yield any COGCC rules for liquid nitrogen, other than reporting information about use of nitrogen.

In a June 8 email to the City Staff, the COGCC stated that the City “may want to listen in or attend our hearing Monday in Greeley, as this may issue be addressed by Director Murphy.” It is not clear if the Staff will be attending the June 11 hearing in Greeley.  Many citizens plan to attend in order to read petitions and statements asking for the COGCC to not allow Extraction permits to go forward unless and until all deficiencies are addressed.

According to an email that a resident received in response to an inquiry about this accident to a Council Member, Extraction’s Eric Jacobson emailed Assistant City Manager Kevin Standbridge and stated, “Per your question about last night in Windsor, a workover rig hose parted and struck three nearby workers.  The hose contained nitrogen, an inert gas incapable of being ignited.  The event was grossly misreported as an ‘explosion’ in the local paper.  The event was immediately contained.  The nearby workers were treated and two have been released from medical care, the other is expected to be released today or tomorrow.  There was no impact offsite of the pad. It was a minor event that was professionally handled in accordance with our procedures.”

There is still no report on the root cause of the larger explosion on Dec. 22 at the Extraction Stromberger well in WIndsor.  The timing of this explosion is interesting with the upcoming review of Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) at the June 12 Council meeting.

You can also read the June 7 coverage of this accident by the Greeley Tribune here and the June 8 coverage here.