COGCC Not Requiring Any Additional Reporting for Extraction Stromberger Well Explosion

The State COGCC has told the City that the COGCC will not require any additional reporting from Extraction Oil and Gas regarding their Dec. 22 Stromberger Well Pad explosion.  This is despite the fact that there was no determination of a cause in Extraction’s Feb. 23 report to the COGCC.  The City and citizens have been very vocal in stating that the cause must be determined in order to make any necessary corrections to Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan for its 84 wells in Broomfield.

In the March 9 edition of Westword, COGCC Communications Director Todd Hartman indicated that the COGCC planned on continuing the investigation at that time.  Mr. Hartman was quoted as stating, “‘These investigations are complicated, highly technical, and several parties are involved, including the federal government in this case . They take time.  Importantly, as the [Feb. 23] report indicates, the operator is using what it does know at this point and taking corrective and protective actions.  So even without a precise cause yet, the operator is using what it’s learned so far to help prevent a repeat episode.'”

In a March 26 response to my email to Mr. Hartman requesting further information, Mr. Hartman wrote that, “I don’t have a hard date I can provide on any further update.”  He added, “The statement I provided to Westword would still describe the situation from our standpoint.”  In response to my question if the COGCC had any information on when an anticipated report from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigation would be published, he replied, “I believe it has six months from the date of an event to release findings, but best to contact OSHA directly with those questions.”

Many City officials publicly stated that the Feb. 23 report was woefully deficient.  “They [Extraction] have no idea what happened,” said Broomfield Mayor Randy Ahrens after having read the accident report on the Stromberger Well Pad in the Weld County Windsor area right before the Feb. 27 Council meeting.  CCOB Assistant City Manager Kevin Standbridge said he was “personally surprised at the brevity of the document” of 4 pages.  He reported at that Feb. 27 meeting that Tami Yellico would be following up with a call to the COGCC to get their feedback on the Extraction accident report.

Council Members have also echoed the need to find a cause of this Extraction explosion.  On Feb. 27, Council Member Shelton stated that the Feb. 23 report did not help to address the question, “What are they [Extraction] going to do different?”  In response to a citizen question at the March 16 Oil and Gas Conversation, Council Member Bette Erickson said she was also concerned about the cause of the explosion, fire and spill that occurred on Extraction’s Stromberger site.

Many citizens have repeatedly expressed the need to know the cause of the explosion before any Extraction drilling permits at the COGCC can go forward.  At the Feb. 27 Council meeting during Citizen Comments, Elizabeth Lario said, “This  means we don’t know how to hold Extraction accountable to ensure that whatever happened at that site will not happen here.  In the meantime, the COGCC can technically administratively approve the drilling permit on the Livingston pad before we have a chance to understand what happened at the Windsor site.”

If you would like to write the City, you can find their email addresses here.

If you would like to write the State legislature to support State legislation HB 18-1157 to increase requirements on incident reporting, you can find further information on HB 18-1157 here and can write your legislators at email addresses found here.

If you would like to write the COGCC, you can email:  Julie Murphy, Director, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation at

julie.murphy@state.co.us

You can also comment on the Extraction drilling permits by following the instructions here.

You can read the Feb. 23 Extraction Stromberger Well explosion report at https://www.broomfield.org/DocumentCenter/View/25780